The Everyday Man's Sports Blog

Follow Mike Patton aka The General as he puts his thoughts in on sports.

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

The Everyday Mailbag-8/30/11

Another week. Another round of sports questions!! Let’s see what the sports world wants to know!

Q: Do you think that the Spread offense will work in the NFL?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I do not think that the spread will work in the NFL because there’s too much speed on defense in the NFL for that to work. The QB wouldn’t survive either because of how quick the pressure would get there.

Q: ‎​Who do you think will be starting for the Redskins in the opener?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: Interesting. Its a dead heat, but I will say Rex will be making the start opening day.

Q: Do you think that RBs are becoming extinct in the NFL??
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: As far as NFL running backs becoming extinct, that will not happen. Running backs will always be needed in the NFL. A balanced offense or a 60/40 passing offense will always be better than a 100% passing offense. Balance is key on offense.

Q: Do you think the Lions are ready to challenge for their division this season?
-Russ G., Walpole, MA

A: I think that the Lions have the potential to be the second-best team in the NFC North. Now as far as them winning the division, they still don’t have the defensive backs to contend with the Packers and if Cutler gets on a roll, it could be trouble for them too. I think next year will be the year they really challenge for the division.

Q: Granderson really stepped it up for the Yankees. Does he have a decent shot at MVP?
-Lee L., Chicago, IL

A: I really think he does have a good shot to be the MVP. I think between him and Boston’s Jacoby Ellisbury, it could be close for who wins it.

Q: Alex Smith still at QB for the San Francisco 49ers. Why?
-Joseph W, Alexandria, VA

A: That’s the question the world wants to know. I don’t understand how someone can underachieve so much and still be believed to have finally got it. I know that he’s had a lot of different offensive coordinators, but in the end, if you have talent and you’re a player, your skills we come thru and your worth will be proven. He hasn’t come thru in this long and I find it hard to believe that he will come thru now.

Thanks to everyone who asked questions this week!!! And remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!!!

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

The Everyday Man’s 2011 NFC East Preview

Well, its almost that time of the year! The preseason is almost to an end and its about time for the regular season to get started! I know all my football fans are excited! I know I am. Well, to help get everyone in the football frame of mind, I’m going to preview every team in every division, starting with the NFC East! Here we go!!!

Dallas Cowboys
Is this the year for the Cowboys? Some think that they can win the NFC East and some think they are flat out crazy. The Dallas Cowboys dropped some key players offensively this off-season as a result of the new salary cap restrictions. Gone are RG Leonard Davis, RT Marc Columbo, C Andre Gurode, WR Roy Williams and RB Marion Barber. It ought to be interesting to see how the newer and younger pieces respond to expanded roles. Its now or never for Cowboy QB Tony Romo. He has showed flashes of brilliance and moments of insanity as well. He must show some consistency this year for the Cowboys to have any shot to make the playoffs. RB Felix Jones now gets the starting nod with Marion Barber shipped out of town. He bring explosiveness, but he also brings an injury-riddled career as well. It should be interesting to see if he can be a consistent producer for the Cowboys. If he gets injured, it could be time for Tashard Choice could be the right choice in Dallas. WRs Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten have the potential to be and explosive trio, but all this explosiveness could be halted if the revamped offensive line doesn’t get it done.

On defense, Wade Phillips exits and Rob Ryan enters. Expect extreme pressure from all angles as Ryan is relentless in bring pressure. OLB DeMarcus Ware should have a big year in Ryan’s defense and continue to be a monster. If he absorbs a lot of attention, expect OLB Anthony Spencer to have a breakout year. As far as the rest of the defense, S Abram Elam was a great addition and he gets Ryan’s scheme. Other than that, the Cowboys secondary better hope they get great pressure from the LBs and D-lineman because Mike Jenkins and crew will get exposed.

As for the special teams on this team, they are always an adventure. It should be fun to see what happens there, but I hope the Cowboys use Dez Bryant as a punt returner. He is their best playmaker.

Prediction: 9-7, T-2nd in the NFC East

New York Giants
The Giants definitely have their work cut out for them in this division. Brandon Jacobs has now been supplanted by Ahmad Bradshaw as the main RB in Gotham. He brings a toughness with him and with he and Jacobs, the Giants ground game could be trouble. Eli Manning lost two of his most reliable weapons this off-season, TE Kevin Boss and WR Steve Smith. Its imperative that WRs Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nix step up to the plate and be consistent, especially on 3rd down, where Smith was Mr, Consistent for Eli.

On defense, gone are Barry Cofield and Chris Canty and the lone standing veteran D-lineman are DEs Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. These two with a mix of Jason Pierre-Paul in D-coordinator Perry Fewell’s offense could cause serious problems for opposing offensive. At LB, Michael Boley must be healthy this year. He cannot afford to be injured this year for the Giants because they don’t have the luxury of quality depth due to injuries. But the biggest issue for the Giants will be their DBs. They have suffered some serious injuries to some DBs this year. They have lost four DBs already this year, including CB Tyrelle Thomas, who was their most talented corner. It should be interesting to see what Perry Fewell can create this year with his defense.

On special teams, WR Devin Thomas could make a huge impact on kickoff returns and this could be his way of making the team. As far as kicking, Lawrence Tynes will be Mr. Consistent and Matt Dodge may continue to be Mr. Inconsistent. Ultimately, I think the Giants will be ok this year and not do as bad as some expect them to do.

Prediction: 9-7, T-2nd in the NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles
The so-called “Dream Team” has a lot of optimism going into this year. They brought in the prize of the free agent market, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, as well as DE Jason Babin, DT Cullen Jenkins, DB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie(via trade), RB Ronnie Brown and QB Vince Young. The Eagles let it be known that they are going for it all this year. Offensively, they have explosiveness on offense at every position. WRs Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin could take it the distance with each touch. These two guys with the addition of Steve Smith from the Giants make for a good WR crew that will scare teams in this division. The addition of Ronnie Brown gives the Eagles a physical back to go along with the smoothness and explosiveness of LaSean “Shady” McCoy. All these weapons with QB Michael Vick could be highly entertaining to watch. But if they get no blocking from a subpar offensive line, then the offense will struggle.

On defense, the Eagles have great players at every level but LB. The Eagles could use LB Lofa Tatupu right about now, but for now they will have to get it done with rookie LB Casey Matthew, LB Jamar Chaney and crew. If these guys play well, this Eagles defense could be outstanding. If not, the TEs in the NFC East could have a field day.

As far as special teams, the dismissal of K David Akers will be felt this year. They may have found a replacement, but I don’t think there’s any replacing Akers. Also, look for DeSean Jackson to get less touches in the return game this year so the Eagles can preserve him for offense. The Eagles are the class of this division.

Prediction: 12-4, 1st in the NFC East

Washington Redskins
The Redskins went into the off-season with intentions on trading QB Donovan McNabb. They succeeded in doing that, but who’s the replacement? Enter Rex Grossman and John Beck. I think this battle will go down to the wire, but Rex will be the opening day starter. He has earned that position. RB Tim Hightower now gets his chance to be the feature back after his jettison from Arizona. Hightower runs hard and he should benefit from Shanahan’s downhill running scheme. WR Santana Moss continues to be the feature WR in DC, but they went and got him help this off-season in WRs Donte Stallworth and Jabbar Gaffney. This trio along with Anthony Armstrong and TE Chris Cooley should be formidable against the DBs in the NFC East. The real question will be the offensive line. Will they get it together in the second year under Shanahan?

On defense, OLB Brian Orapko will continue to be a beast on the outside, but now he has a new tag team partner in Adam Carriker. Carriker is a high-energy guy who is constantly working to make something happen. The ageless wonder, London Fletcher, patrols the middle still. He should benefit from having some guys at NT that fit the 3-4 more than the previous unnamed guy in the middle. CB DeAngelo Hall, S LaRon Landry and crew are some serious ballhawks and it should be interesting to see what they will do in their second year under D-coordinator Jim Haslett.

As far as the special teams, the Redskins could be pretty vanilla here. Their kicking situation is uncertain and the return game looks to not be that explosive. It could be a long year in DC.

Prediction: 6-10, 4th in the NFC East

Division MVP: Michael Vick
Best Rookie: OT Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys

Don’t Cry For Me

August 23rd, 2011 had some big happenings. First, there was an earthquake in Virginia that was felt in places like New York and Philadelphia. Second, there was a tremor from the collective shock of Pat Summitt announcing that she has early onset dementia. I don’t think anyone could have seen any of these two occurrences happening. I certainly didn’t see it coming.

Pat has been a staple at UT and in women’s college basketball. She is the winningest coach in college basketball, has 8 national championships and has coached players like Candace Parker to greatness. But the thing that has defined Pat more than anything is her toughness. In a time where women’s basketball wasn’t the most popular, Pat made it important. She took the women’s game on her back to make way for all the coaching stars in women’s sports like Tara VanDerveer and Kim Mulkey-Robinson. She made it a point to stand out at a time when not many women stood out. So, why should we expect her not to stand up and be tough in this situation?

Pat grew up on a farm and knew what toughness was and personified it daily. I expect Pat to take this battle head-on, like any other challenge she has ever taken on. She has said that she will not stop coaching during this time. She will undoubtedly have to depend on long-time assistants Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss to handle more responsibilities. But, in typical Pat Summitt fashion, she doesn’t want our sympathy. She just wants the focus to be on her team and on her players. Pat Summitt is truly a class act and I believe she will continue to have a profound impact on basketball.

The Everyday Mailbag-8/23/11

More and more the excitement is brewing. I’m not talking about excitement for the beginning of regular season NFL football. I’m talking about the excitement for the Everyday Mailbag. Let’s see what the Sports World wants to know!

Q: Who do you think will be the first starting quarterback in the NFL to lose his job?
-Chris R., Vancouver, Canada

A: I think Seahawks QB Tavaris Jackson will be the 1st starting QB benched. He’s just too inconsistent and I think his inconsistencies will drive Pete Carroll to give backup QB Charlie Whitehurst a chance to be the starting QB again.

Q: Who will be offensive and defensive rookies of the year?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: I think if Cam Newton is the starter in Carolina, he has a good shot to be Offensive Rookie of the Year. His competition will be Saints rookie RB Mark Ingram and Falcons WR Julio Jones. As far as Defensive Rookie of the Year, Cardinals DB Patrick Peterson or Houston DE JJ Watt are my candidates to be the main contenders for Rookie of The Year.

Q: How come you don’t see a lot of black ppl playing baseball? Whether it be high school,College or the pros.
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think that baseball isn’t a sport that is promoted as much in most urban neighborhoods as basketball and football. Also, I would say that its hard to go play baseball after playing basketball and football because baseball is considerably slower than basketball and football. That’s why you see most black athletes playing football and basketball and not baseball.

Q: Do you think Fitzgerald is worth the contract he just received(8 years/$120 million w/ $50 million guaranteed)?
-Erin S., Nashville, TN

A: I think he deserved an extension, but they paid too much for a WR in my opinion. With Fitzgerald making this much, its going to hamper the team down the line when they want to make their defense better. With the current salary cap structure, contracts like this can hamper you.

Q: Do you think Miami should get the death penalty?
-Russ G., Walpole, MA

A: I don’t think Miami should get the death penalty. I watched the SMU documentary and that school violated the first time, got a penalty and then violated while on the probation from the first penalty and got the death penalty. The penalty will be bad, but not the death penalty. And to add to that, the NCAA is about money, so do you think they will hurt the ACC by enforcing the death penalty and taking away money from their conference and from them too? I personally don’t think they will do that.

Q: Now that Cubs have cut their GM loose I don’t think the manager comes back either. Who do you think would be a fit?
-Lee L., Chicago, IL

A: I think that Mike Quade doesn’t come back and if he doesn’t come back, I think that the next manager is sitting in the announcer’s booth. I think Bob Brenley would be the best fit because in his time in Arizona, he handled his players well and got the best out of them.

Q: Who do you see finishing with better record, Raiders or Niners?
-Bobby C., Sacramento, CA

A: I see the Niners finishing with a better record. Easier division to compete in and they could be the 2nd best team in that conference. And let’s be honest, the Raiders will finish third at best in that division with the Chargers and Chiefs there.

Q: How much money is Chris Johnson really worth?
-Kareem H., Nashville, TN

A: Chris Johnson is going to get at least $25 million guaranteed because Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams got $21million guaranteed. And CJ’s better than he is.

Q: ‎​Do you think the Broncos should trade Tim Tebow?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: I don’t think they should just yet. QB Kyle Orton is a free agent after this year and Brady Quinn hasn’t proven he can be more than a backup. I think you hang on to Tebow unless someone gives you a deal that you can’t refuse.

Q: How do you think Terrell Pryor will transition to the NFL? Think he needs a position change?
-Mike S., Waldorf, MD

A: I think Tyrelle Pryor will be a project at QB. He’s a tremendous athlete, but he’s still raw at the QB position. I don’t know if a position change will help him because cutting while running the ball and coming out of breaks running routes are two totally different things.

Thanks for all the questions sports fans! Keep ’em coming! If you have sports questions, I have answers!!!

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

Its Just A Game

There was a fight in the bathroom. A fight in the stand. And there was also a shooting in the parking lot. All of this surrounded a rivalry preseason football game. No, this wasn’t a movie scene. This was the scene surrounding the 49ers/Raiders preseason game this past weekend. This kind of display is what’s wrong about fans at times.

Now I’m a fan of sports. I’m passionate. I hate when my team loses. I love it when my team wins. But never in my wildest dreams would I get so caught up as to shoot an opposing fan. To me, this is the most ludicrous thing that I’ve heard of happening in a while at a football game. The incident was so bad that the 49ers and Raiders brass are going to discontinue the annual preseason game. And in my eyes, they are making the right decision.

What we as fans fail to realize at times is that at the end of the day, its all a game. And at the end of the day, the game isn’t life or death. It isn’t like we’re getting paid for the game is our lifeblood like the players. We still have to go to work the next day. Hopefully this is just an isolated incident and it doesn’t spread to other parts of the country, but the actions of a few have given a black eye for fans in the Bay Area. I feel bad for those fans who weren’t involved in this fiasco. Because of the ugly incident, now they are getting robbed of one of their favorite rivalries and it’s a shame. The fans that are involved in this foolishness should be disallowed from the stadium. Thoughts on this incident sports fans?

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

Challenges

What exactly are challenges? They seem to come about at the wrong times. They seem to become big obstacles in our way at times. But, can they be overcome? Yes. And the question in life is how do you overcome them.

Challenges are things that are overcome with perseverance. In a race, you sometimes face a battle of wills. When Lance Armstrong was riding in the Tour De France, he was pushed to the limit. He was coming off testicular cancer and no one expected him to win. Instead of Armstrong accepting that, he rose to the challenge and persevered when most thought he had exhausted all he had to give to cycling. And not only did he win, he dominated and did this repeatedly.

Heart is something that cannot be taught. You either have it or you don’t. An example of heart is when Isaiah Thomas played virtually a whole game against the Lakers on a sprained ankle. He was determined that he was not going to let an injury keep him from facing a challenge. His heart told him “yes” when his body tried to tell him “no”. Isaiah was excellent that game, although he was in no condition physically to play.

Will is something that’s deep inside of you. When you’re pushed to your limit, that little voice that tells you that you can make it is your will. Will makes you work a little harder, pushing yourself to your utmost limits. Will is what made Michael Jordan one of the greatest players, if not the greatest player, to ever play basketball. Michael was cut from his high school basketball team. His will to make the team the next year made him work and work and work until he made himself into an All-American and ultimately a superstar in basketball.

Will, heart and perseverance. These three things are key components in overcoming challenges. If you’re faced with a challenge in life or in sports, are you going to fall prey to it or are you going to show these key components and rise up to the challenge? The result of the challenge is up to you.

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

The Everyday Mailbag- 8/17/11

What’s up Sports Fans!! Its time for another edition of The Everyday Mailbag! Let’s see what the Sports World wants to know!

Q: What’s your opinion of Texas A &M joining the SEC? And is this the end of the Big 12?
-Jeremy W., Winnipeg, Canada

A: The Aggies were actually turn down by the SEC. Now do I think this is the end of talk of the Aggies coming to the SEC? No. I think they will eventually come to the SEC, just not right now because there wasn’t another team to bring with them so there could still be an even amount of teams in both divisions. As far as the Big 12, I think the end is very near. I think Texas will eventually become an independent like Notre Dame and then, the downfall will be started.

Q: Would it be a smart move for the SEC to add Texas A&M?
-Russ G., Walpole, MA

A: I think it would be good for the SEC only in helping bring more recruits for the Texas area and breaking the SEC into a new market that usually is following Big 12 football.

Q: Burress or Edwards? Did Jets make right decision?
-Andrew V., Frederick, MD

A: I think the Jets added veteran experience and lost some explosion. Plaxico has the potential to dominate at stretches of the game, but he’s not as explosive as Braylon Edwards can be. Edwards and the now-departed Brad Smith were very explosive players for the Jets last year. I think that if they were going to acquire Derrick Mason, then they should have kept Edwards for his explosiveness, even though he’s inconsistent. Plax is going to take a while to knock some of the rust off.

Q: I know basketball season is a loooooonnnnggggg way away. But how do you think the Memphis Grizzlies will do this year?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I see them being right where they were this year, fighting for a playoff spot. The difference is, this year they won’t sneak up on anyone.

Q: Do you think CJ is wrong for wanting QB money?? Or do you think he should b satisfied with being the highest paid RB??
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think its all in bargaining. Do I think CJ gets QB money? No. But he does deserve to be paid. In a league where RBs careers are the most short-lived, I understand his plight and I don’t think he’s wrong.

Q: What do you think about the Titans preseason game ? Or was it just a preseason game ?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think the preseason games don’t mean much until the last one. That’s when u see more of what a team is going to be.

Thanks for all the questions sports fans. And remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

Airing Out Dirty Laundry

Well, as if college football didn’t have enough scandal and improprieties to deal with, another one has been brewing under our noises for a long time. Nevin Shapiro came forth and blew the whistle on his exploits as a booster for the University of Miami. Shapiro went into intricate detail as to what all he did for players. Shapiro, or Little Luke as he was called by some players, did everything from giving players money, ordering prostitutes, paying for expensive meals and also putting bounties on players such as QB Chris Rix and QB Tim Tebow, who played for Florida State and Florida respectively. Before I read the story, I was for sure it couldn’t be as bad as it sounds, but after reading the story, one thing can be concluded: the University of Miami is in trouble. And the funny thing about all of this is that he did all this while it seemed like Miami turned a blind eye to him.

But before everyone throws the book at Nevin and the Miami players, one thing we all need to realize is that, big or small, a lot of these things happen at many of our colleges and universities. Rules will get broken. Now I’m not condoning any of the activities that happened during the time span of Nevin and I’m not saying that things happen to this extent everywhere. The kids and the booster deserve the blame, but it seems like the University of Miami as a school dropped the ball.

In this day and age, when everything done is monitored, there should have been no way the Miami hierarchy, mainly the University President, should have missed any of this going on. I can understand why some of the coaches and athletic department members “missed it”. After all, they were allegedly getting paid as well and bringing recruits to Shapiro to entice them to come to Miami. But for the President to let all this go by for as many years as it did is inexcusable. But unfortunately, this is what athletics has come down to. Some people turn a blind eye to things for success. Its unfortunate, but its true.

Another thing that struck me about this situation are the things I’ve heard about it. Some people are screaming the NCAA are a joke. I agree with that assessment. Some people are screaming that Miami is a dirty program and has always been one. I got news for those folks: every program, small or big, does something. So, whoever thinks that an NCAA program is completely clean, they’re kidding themselves. The NCAA rulebook is thick. I repeat. The NCAA rulebook is THICK! There’s no possible way that you can know any and every rule and amendment. You can break a rule everyday and not even know it. I believe that all of the teams break rules. Its just a matter of who gets caught and who doesn’t.

This is a dark day in Miami football. There will undoubtedly be a lot of punishment handed down. But we all need to keep two things in mind: the university is the biggest culprit and this will not be the last time that rules are broken at a college or university. Heck, everybody breaks the rules in some way or another.

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

Could Larry Fitzgerald’s Days In Arizona Be Over Soon?

When you think of the Arizona Cardinals organization, you think of one name: Larry Fitzgerald. Wouldn’t it be weird to see him in a different uniform? Well, it could possibly be a reality after this season. Is this a reality that the Cardinals are ready to face?

Larry Fitzgerald is in the last year of a 4 year/ $40 million extension with Arizona. As a part of that deal, he has it in writing that he cannot be franchised. This brings the Cardinals and Fitzgerald to a crossroads. On one hand, the Cardinals don’t have anyone else at WR besides him. Let’s be honest, it seems like every WR that’s been talented has left for greener pastures besides Fitzgerald. The latest to leave was Steve Breaston, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. If the Cardinals let him walk, then newly acquired QB Kevin Kolb will not have a big target to throw to.

Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. If the Cardinals sign Fitzgerald to an extension (which will likely be a very huge one),what money will they have to sign more players to improve the team? There won’t be much money to. In fact, if they sign him to a big-money extension, they better hope their young defenders develop because they are still in need of help defensively.

If I’m the Cardinals, I have to find a way to get this deal done. Fitzgerald is easily one of the top WRs in this league and can be any QBs best friend with his great size and ability. But Fitzgerald is more than that to Arizona. He’s a part of the community and a part of the organizational identity for the Cardinals. Time is ticking Arizona. What are you going to do?

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

My Thoughts On Preseason Football

Preseason football is here and everyone is hype! I’m hype, but I’m hype to an extent. To me, the preseason just doesn’t captivate me all that much. In fact, I don’t really get supremely excited until around the last game. That’s when you see what you can expect from most teams this year. With all that being said, here’s my thoughts on what I like and don’t like about the preseason.

I think the preseason should be shortened I don’t think its fair that season ticket holders have to pay full price for the preseason games where the big stars usually play a series or at the most, a half. I understand teams don’t want to get players hurt, but I feel that if players are going to get pulled from the earlier games, then the tickets for these early preseason games should be reduced. If that can’t be done, then the games just need to be dropped.

A thing that I do like is the unknown rookie that gets his chance. I don’t like the structure of four preseason games, but I will say for all the bore of some of these games, it is good to see guys come out of nowhere to make teams. A guy who can attest to the power of preseason is Titans WR Marc Mariani. Mariani was a late round pick for the Titans who was not expected to make it out of preseason on the Titans roster. Not only did he make the team, he ended up being the one of the best kick returners in the NFL and he also made the Pro Bowl.

In the end, I guess the preseason is a necessary evil to some fans and an essential part of preparation for NFL players. Hopefully the preseason can hurry up from my perspective. When the preseason arrives at its last game, I will be in full football form. The excitement will be there. Until then, I just stew and wait on action to pick up.

Sports Blog Movement
http://www.sportsblogmovement.com

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