The Everyday Man's Sports Blog

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

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Time For A Flashback

The champs are here! The champs are here! What we thought of the champs at least. This year’s version of the Dallas Mavericks sure stumbled out of the blocks. Can they recover? Possibly. But will they is the question.

The Mavs were always an offensive team before C Tyson Chandler arrived. Chandler, combined with G DeShawn Stevenson, gave the Mavs a defensive presence and made them a tougher team on both ends of the court. The Mavs took the momentum of these guys along with their explosive offense, and rode it to a championship. Fast forward to this year and this team is sorely missing these two guys. Sure, they added Lamar Odom, Delonte West and Vince Carter, but none of these guys are defenders that can bring the intensity on the defensive end that Chandler and Stevenson did. Another guy they miss is JJ Barea, who was their fearless PG who was a key cog in the championship year. He even chipped in with steals defensively. So, how do they get this resolved you may ask?

The Mavs have to revert back to the way they were in the past. The Mavs must push the tempo at people. West, Carter and Odom are at their best when they are in the open court. Another adjustment they will need to make will be to play Dirk and Odom more together. These two are matchup nightmares, so why not put pressure on opposing teams and make them have to give these two guys extra attention.

It’s early in the season so I don’t want to overreact to the Mavs and their struggles. But the fact remains that they have been down 30 twice already, given up 100+ points in all their games and they look lifeless and out of rhythm a lot early. Maybe they get it going, but if they don’t figure it out soon, the Mavs could be in for a long season.

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Not This Year

The Lakers finally got off the snide Tuesday night with a thorough domination of the Utah Jazz. The Lakers looked more energized and they didn’t look like an old team. Shockingly, they played harder than a younger Jazz team playing their first game. All in Lakerland are saying that this could be the beginning of the team getting on a roll. But, I’m not so sold on that.

The Lakers ended the season very unimpressive last season as the Dallas Mavericks steamrolled the Lakers right out of the playoffs. Going into this season, many expected the Lakers to make a move to inject some new life and give them some hope to be a contender. What the Lakers got this season was more frustration followed up by signings that most question. The first move was the proposed trade of Chris Paul to Los Angeles. Well, like we all know, Lamar Odom was in that trade as well as Pau Gasol. The trade ended up not happening as NBA Commissioner David Stern nixed the deal. In the process of that deal getting scrapped, Lamar Odom got his feelings hurt and asked for a trade out of Tinseltown. The Lakers obliged and traded him to Dallas for the trade exception the Mavs got in the Tyson Chandler sign-and-trade to the Knicks. If I were the Lakers, I would have tried to persuade Odom to stay and be a part of the team. But, they didn’t and they let him go.

Most thought the next move would be for the Lakers to make a run at Dwight Howard. But, that deal never materialized and the Lakers ended up signing PFs Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy. No offense to these two guys, but neither of them bring the skill level that Odom brought, let alone the scoring ability. So, this move is deemed by me as a downgrade.

The Lakers also failed to get some PG help this off-season. Sure, some say there was nothing out there, but I believe they needed someone to man the PG position. I like Derek Fisher and I believe that he still can play, but to be honest, his starting PG days are over and he would be the perfect backup PG for this team.

The last thing I want to look at from the Lakers perspective is they do not have any consistent offense off the bench. Backup PG Steve Blake had a good game off the bench the first game and Metta World Piece played well in Sacramento, but neither of these guys are dependable on the offensive end. And this means that more of the scoring load will fall on Kobe and Pau Gasol. And over a 66 game season that’s compressed and offers a lot of back-to-back games, that’s trouble for these older stars.

With all that I’ve mentioned, I think the Lakers are still going to be a thorn in some teams’ sides. C Andrew Bynum comes back from suspension in one more game and maybe his presence will help mold this team into a more defensive team. To be honest, this team may be better suited to hang its hat on defense more than offense based on the pieces that they have. Only time will tell but this team, as it stands, is not a contender. It should be interesting to see how they evolve this year.

Ballers And Wankstas Of The WeeK- Week 16

Crunch time folks! Ballers stepped up this week and some of the Wankstas showed their true colors! Let me introduce you to the Ballers and Wankstas of the Week!

Ballers Of The Week

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
I don’t even want to mention Brees and his numbers for this game. Brees broke the record for passing yards in a season held by Dan Marino since 1984. Brees has been a revelation in New Orleans and he deserves every bit of credit that he’s gotten. He’s been a Baller all year for this team and I expect to see more from him in the playoffs.

Jerome Simpson, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (5 receptions, 42 yards, 1 TD)
I’m sure people are wondering why Simpson is a Baller this week. Well, if you were watching the Cincinnati game vs the Cardinals this weekend, then you know. Simpson caught a shallow crossing pattern across the middle of the field, turned it up the field and then he did a forward flip over a defender and landed on his feet in the endzone. The most incredible effort I’ve seen all season on a touchdown by far. Now that’s ballin!

Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants (3 receptions, 164 yards, 1 TD)
Cruz was a man on a mission. His 99 yard catch and run for a TD turned the momentum of the game and helped set up a Week 17 showdown with the Cowboys for the NFC East crown. Cruz has been a revelation for the Giants and he also set the team record for most receiving yards in a season in this game.

CJ Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (16 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD)
CJ looked like the first round draft pick he was in this game vs the Broncos. He hit the holes hard and make things happen. It ought to be interesting to see if this is fool’s gold or if this is what we can come to expect from Spiller regularly.

Wankstas Of The Week

Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos (13/30, 185 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs)
Tebow played pretty bad and now is sporting a two game losing streak. In that time, the common denominator is turnovers. Tebow must get back to valuing the football or they could be trouble brewing.

St. Louis Rams
I wonder if this team mailed it in. They got absolutely steam-rolled in Pittsburgh. To me, you have to bring more than this in the NFL and this effort has to be disappointing to Coach Spagnolo, who some say has a warm seat he’s sitting on these days.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have apparently forgotten what decade they play in because they are playing like the team that wore those hideous creamcicle jerseys back in the day. The Bucs need to find themselves, but it won’t happen this year. And it may have to happen with a new coach as well.

I have a special Wankstas award for the fans and media who got mad at the Saints for allowing Brees to throw for the record. Its the NFL folks and last time I checked, the defense gets paid to stop people. The Falcons defense didn’t stop him, so he got the record. Get over it and move on Falcons, media and Falcons fans. Its over. Focus on making the playoffs instead of getting even.

These are my Ballers and Wankstas of the Week. If you have any Ballers or Wankstas that you would like to add, feel free to drop a comment.

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The Everyday Mailbag- 12/28/11

Basketball season is here! The NBA just cranked up. Sadly, the NFL is gearing down. But in between the excitement for the beginning of a new NBA season and the movement towards the NFL playoffs, there are plenty of questions that arise. Let’s see what the Sports World wants to know!

Q: Do you think 35 bowl games is too many?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I do think that 35 bowl games are too many. I believe that going to a bowl game has lost its specialness and that eventually, there may be some bowl games cut. I think that’s only right.

Q: What’s the more impressive record breaking season? Marino in 1984 or Drew Brees in 2011? Obviously the year they set/broke passing records.
-Andrew V., Frederick, MD

A: I think that Marino’s was more impressive. Marino played in an era where DBs could hold and grab and physically assault receivers out there and he still put up numbers. Brees breaking the yardage record is impressive, but the game is built more for the offensive to succeed and succeed he did.

Q: What’s your Pacific Division predictions for NBA?
-Bobby C., Sacramento, CA

A: I think that in the Pacific division, its gonna be interesting. The Clippers are good. The Lakers, even though they are not up to their usual level, are also good. The wildcard in this division is Sacramento. They are talented but young. Now that youth can either help or hinder them. It should be interesting to see which it does. And lastly, the Suns are just bad all the way around. I don’t see them making the playoffs this year. As far as the order of the division this year, I have the Clippers, then the Lakers, then the Kings and bringing up the rear, the Suns.

Q: What should the Jets do with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez?
-Dallah S., Manhattan, NY

A: I think that the clock is ticking on whether or not Mark Sanchez is the future at QB for the Jets. I think that next year is the make or break point for his career in green and white. Also, Rex Ryan’s act is starting to wear thin on the league. It seems to not have as much of an effect as it did to start his tenure. Maybe its time he did more coaching than talking. I think he’s ok right now, but the tide could turn going into next year. Its quite possible.

Q: Who impressed/ disappointed you in the NBA this weekend?
-Kareem H., Chandler, AZ

A: I think that the Mavs disappointed me this weekend. I knew they would lose, but they looked so listless and disinterested out there on the court. They aren’t the same team as last year and it shows. Two straight home blowouts. The Wizards also were disappointing. When you have a big lead, you have to finish a team. They are young, so hopefully they will learn that. As far as impressive teams, I think the Heat were very impressive. They throttled the Mavs. I also would say the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was impressive. He carried the Knicks to the finish line like a star is supposed to do.

Q: ‎​How do u think the T-Wolves will do this year?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: I think the Timberwolves will be better this year. With all that being said, they will still miss the playoffs, but I don’t think they will miss the playoffs by much.

Thanks to all who sent questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers.

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Christmas Time’s Meaning To Me

It’s that time of the year. Every young boy and girl is getting giddy thinking about what Santa is going to give them. Even some grown people are excited about the gifts that may come their way. I guess I’m in a different space then, because Christmas means something different to me. It means a day of celebration. It means a day of fellowship. It means a day of faith.

Most think about Christmas and they think about Santa and the gifts that Santa is bringing them. But what about the gift that God gave us? God sent his only begotten son to die for our sins. In all actuality, we should be praising the Lord for his blessings and mercy towards us. Just the mere fact that we woke up this morning is a blessing because it didn’t have to happen. Plenty of people didn’t wake up today. Why not have some fellowship and let Him know how much you appreciate all that was done for you? Think about that one.

Family is very important to me. Each time I see my family, I thank the Lord because we are close and we do spend so much time with each other. I remember when I was a kid, every Christmas, I would meet all my cousins at my grandmother’s house and we would exchange gifts and eat and have a good time. I wish we still did that, but unfortunately, my grandmother isn’t around anymore. Don’t let Christmas time be the only time you share with your family. To be honest, I don’t even think about the gifts that I get for Christmas anymore. I think more about the gifts I give to people. Whether its a physical gift, a prayer or maybe some advice, I try to give some type of gift to someone as I go about my daily life. And no one is better to share things with than family. In the end, family is all you have. They will be there with you thru thick and thin and help you when times are down. Lord knows my family has been the most supportive group of people that any man can ask for. I would do anything for them and I’m sure they would do anything for me. Value your family folks, not just during the holiday time, but all the time. Happy Holidays from The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog!

Decisions, Decisions

USC Matt Barkley was a surefire first round pick. In fact, he was considered by some the best quarterback that could enter the draft, ahead of Andrew Luck. Barkley had a million-dollar future but he decided to come back and be the Trojan quarterback for one more year. To some this may seem like a crazy decision, but for Barkley, it makes sense.

The All-American quarterback will be returning to a team that will be loaded offensively, led by stud wide receiver Robert Woods. The defense will be a year older and a year stronger and they will also be led by another All-American returning for his senior season, safety TJ McDonald. If you take a look at this team with all that they have returning, it looks like the Trojans will be back in the championship hunt despite the scholarships that they have lost during their punishment from the NCAA.

The championship is just part of the reason that Barkley returned. As a boy, Barkley always wanted to go to USC. He always wanted to be the quarterback at USC. Barkley wants to stay and live out his boyhood dream. So, for those that criticize his decision, look at all the unique talents that leave school too early, aren’t ready for the NFL and never accomplish anything outside of their own personal statistics in college. They tend to flame out at the pro level and not have the education to be able to find another career path. Barkley made the decision that school and his boyhood dream of being a part of a championship team at USC meant more than the millions he could personally earn in the NFL next year. I applaud Barkley for coming back to school. Sure, he’s risking injury coming back, but no one will question his decision should he win a BCS National Title and the Heisman Trophy next year.

NFL Thursday Night Showcase: Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts

The crowd will be live, the energy will be electric and the now one-win Colts are have got it rolling again. Well, the last part isn’t so true, but the Colts will be looking forward to keeping the momentum gained from the Titans game. The Texans, on the other hand, will be looking to get some momentum back from the unexplainable loss last week.

Last weekend, Colts QB Dan Orlovsky, made his first start since playing for the 0-16 Detroit Lions team a few years back. He wasn’t spectacular, but what he did do was manage the game. He made some throws when he needed to, but his main goal was to just keep his team in the game with smart decisions and key throws. In this game, Orlovsky has to do more, but he’s going to have to get some help from his running game. Joseph Addai, Donald Brown and crew must show up and take some pressure off him. Expect the Texans defense to show multiple looks at the Colt offense. The mixups of defenses will certainly give the Colts some things to think about offensively. A key matchup will be the Colts offensive line vs the Texans defensive line.

Rookie QB T.J. Yates has been a revelation for the Texans. He has done better than most thought he would as the third starting QB for Houston this season.. Yates has had an innate ability to make great plays in pressure situations. Well, this week, the Texans and their mentality will be tested. Will the Texans come out with no energy and no desire to be there Sunday? Or do we get the same scratch and claw mentality that they have had all year? Other than that question, I expect Texans RB Arian Foster to have his way with the Colts defense. Despite what we saw from the Colts defensively last week, don’t expect the Colts to stop Foster.

The Colts will come out fired up. But what happens when that energy wears off? I think we will see the same old Colts we’ve been watching this year. With that, expect the Colts to not be able to move the ball. The thing is, the Texans may have problems moving the ball if last weekend was an indication. This game should be nip-and-tuck for a little bit, but in the end, the Texans will win this game.
Prediction: Houston 27, Indianapolis 16

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Ballers And Wankstas Of The Week- Week 15

We’re in crunch time now in the NFL season and now its time for the men to be separated from the boys. The prime-time players to be separated from the bench setters. Here are this week’s Ballers and Wankstas of the week!

Ballers Of The Week

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints(32/40, 412 yards, 5 TDs)
The New Orleans Saints have been putting in serious work offensively and no one is a better representative of the work that’s been put in than Brees. He’s been a machine in the pocket and has been mowing down the competition. Mr. Marino, your passing record is about to be broken this year.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions(9 receptions, 214 yards, 2 TDs)
Megatron and Matt Stafford went to work on the weak Oakland secondary to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Megatron was the main attraction in the comeback. He couldn’t be contained by the Oakland Raiders and was pretty much doing whatever he wanted. Seems like the Calvin Johnson we saw at the beginning of the season has returned.

Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins(25 carries, 203 yards, 1 TD)
Bush went to Buffalo and had a flashback to the days when he played for USC in college. He was breaking tackles and running away from defenders with ease. If Bush keeps this pace up, he will have his first 1000 yard rushing season of his career.

San Francisco 49ers Defense
The 49ers wouldn’t even let two power outages stop their assault on the Steelers offense. The Niners forced four turnovers and gave Big Ben fits all night long in the pocket. This could be a bad sign for the rest of the NFL if they can perform this well without all-everything linebacker Patrick Willis.

Wankstas Of The Week

Caleb Hanie, QB, Chicago Bears(10/23, 111 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs)
Hanie and his performance should be an example as to why you want to put money into backup quarterbacks. You can’t just put anyone there to play that position, which it seems like the Bears did. And now the Bears are fading fast down the stretch and could possibly miss the playoffs. Lesson learned by the league here.

Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags were missing Thursday night. They may have been there physically, but they weren’t there mentally. I wonder if this is rock bottom for them or if there’s worse to come in the last two week. We shall see.

Tennessee Titans
They came. They saw. They laid an egg. The Titans may as well not even showed up Sunday because they let the Colts run all over them to the tune of 205 yards rushing. Good teams win the games they’re supposed to, but good teams always bounce back. Which one are the Titans?

New York Jets
The Jets must have had the Jet warming at the airport with the effort that they put together. You would think a team that’s vying for a pplayoff spot would have shown more effort than this. Fourty-five points allowed for a team that was supposed to be good defensively is terrible. I guess we had the Jets all wrong this year. Maybe they are overrated.

These are my Ballers and Wankstas of the Week. If you have anymore Ballers and Wankstas of the week to add, feel free to drop a comment!

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The Everyday Mailbag- 12/21/11

The week was certainly entertaining in sports. And I know with all the entertainment, some great questions are also birthed as well. Without further adieu, here is this week’s Everyday Mailbag!

Q: Will Urban Meyer’s successes in recruiting in the south put pressure on SEC coaches?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I don’t think that Meyer will put recruiting pressure on the South more than what pressure is already on each and every Southeastern Conference coach already. Sure, Urban will get some kids from the South to go Ohio State, but I don’t think he will get enough of them to threaten SEC schools.

Q: Why hasn’t the head coach of the Chicago Bears, Lovie Smith, been fired?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I believe Lovie has done a good job with what he’s been given. I don’t think he deserves all the blame for his team’s production on the field. Also, Lovie doesn’t pick the players on the team, the GM does. But, like always, the coaches get too much credit for wins and too much blame for loses.

Q: What other pieces are needed to make the L.A. Clippers a legit contender?
-Kareem H., Nashville, TN

A: What the Clippers need is good big man to come in off the bench and give them good minutes, rebounding and possibly some scoring. The Clippers also need a backup combo guard/forward that can backup Caron Butler, who is coming off a serious knee injury.

Q: Should rookie Cam Newton be a pro bowler?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think Cam Newton has put up tremendous numbers this season. Definitely Pro Bowl worthy numbers. I don’t think anyone expected the numbers he put up this year.

Q: Who are you for in the East and who you got on Christmas Day, the Lakers or Bulls?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think that the race in the East comes down to the Bulls and the Heat again. The addition of Rip Hamilton does help make the Bulls better, but its hard to go against LeBron and D Wade in year two of the Heatles. My heart says Chicago, but my mind says Miami. I think that’s a toss up on whichever team wins the East. And as far as the game on Christmas Day, I believe that the Bulls have the more sound team and they will win in Los Angeles.

Thanks for the questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!

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NFL Saturday Night Showcase: Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The stage is set. The writing is on the wall. Its crunch time for Dallas. The Cowboys lost a heartbreaker to the New York Giants last weekend 37-34 and now they face virtually a must-win situation every week to make the playoffs. Their mission starts tonight with a visit to Tampa to face the Buccaneers.

QB Tony Romo has been enigmatic all year long. He has historically been bad down the stretch run of the last few seasons. In this game, he must make smart decisions with the football and not try to do too much. His weapons also have to be effective. Expect RB Felix Jones to get plenty of touches due to the Tampa Bay defense’s inability to stop the run. He must show up in place of Demarco Murray, who is out for the season due to a fractured ankle. It also wouldn’t hurt if Dez Bryant gets involved in the game early and often. Bryant’s match up with Tampa Bay CB Aqib Talib should be interesting to watch.

Josh Freeman has struggled this year to stay away from the turnovers. He has been trying to force passes into places where no one should attempt to complete a pass. But the burden of keeping him out of situations where he has to force things doesn’t just fall on him. His running game, led by RB LeGarrette Blount, will be key in allowing Freeman to relax and just play the game. Also, WR Mike Williams has to help his quarterback more. Williams has been targeted a lot by Freeman, but doesn’t have a high percentage of catches in relation to those targets. He will have plenty of chances again tonight, so it should be interesting to see what he does. If the Tampa WRs and TEs are able to take advantage of Dallas and their secondary, then Dallas could have some trouble.

In this game, I expect both teams will come out emotional for different reasons. The Cowboys will be fighting for a playoff birth and the Bucs will be fighting for their coach. Unfortunately, the Bucs can’t stop the run or run consistently. Dallas can.
Prediction: Dallas 30, Tampa Bay 13

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