Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2014 Super Bowl in NY

Written by SportsTalkSoup NFL and College Football analyst Todd Kleinheinz

Start spreading the news, Super Bowl 48 is coming to New York in 2014. Actually, as we all know the new stadium that will be occupied by the Giants and Jets is in New Jersey , but there’s no need to get technical.

After four rounds of voting, a process that for the first time was broadcast on the NFL Network, the 32 NFL owners voted on Tuesday to award the 2014 Super Bowl to the Big Apple. The first for an open-air stadium, in a cold-weather city. So what does this mean, it means that the weather channel will be just as important as the NFL Network come February 2014. And that’s a problem. New York / New Jersey were battling it out with South Florida and Tampa for the rights to host the biggest sporting event of the year. After two rounds, South Florida was eliminated and it was a head-to-head battle. (Technical point for those as sick as me when it comes to the NFL. Voting is conducted and 74%, or 24 votes, is needed to win. If no region has earned the 75% after two rounds, the region that has the fewest amount of votes is dropped, in this case South Florida . After a third round of votes, if no team has earned the required 75%, a simple majority will win it on the 4th round.) Neither New York/New Jersey or Tampa earned the 75% in the 3rd round of voting so a simple majority was all that was needed for NY/NJ to win. But this was a poor decision by the NFL.

First, for the teams. The hard work put forth by the teams that make it to the Super Bowl shouldn’t be impacted by the falling snow, the pouring rain or the blowing wind. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the NFL is a QB-driven league. Well what happens when those QBs can’t complete a pass because of the wind, or their receivers slip on a patch of ice, or if the defenders fall and allow an easy TD. See what I’m getting at? There are too many variables put into place with the weather.

Why do teams hate traveling to Buffalo , Phily, Washington , Pittsburgh late in the year? Because you never know what the weather is going to be like. So while it’s a home-field advantage for some teams, the Super Bowl a stage for the two best teams, it’s not supposed to support a home field advantage. And before anyone screams at their computer, good weather is not a home-field advantage. You never hear people complain that they have to go to San Diego , Miami or Phoenix in late December, in fact the players embrace the idea.

But who does this really hurt? The fans. While less then 1% of those watching the Super Bowl that day will actually have tickets to the game, I guess the NFL has finally, without actually saying it, demonstrated that they are more concerned with the “at home experience” then the “in person experience” (which reminds me of what a ridiculous rule the Blackout rule is, but that’s for another time.) Fans will have to prepare with coats, parkas, beanies, snow shoes, blankets, etc. This is no way to view a Super Bowl!! As it turns out, the best way to view the Super Bowl will be at home on your new 3D-HD TV.

What’s going to happen when the geezer group of the moment tries to do the halftime show? Are the people who build the stage quickly, actually going to be able to do it if they are treading through snow? What’s gonna happen when some rowdies pelt some CEO with a snowball because the game is getting out of hand? The list of bad things that can happen is only going to grow over the next couple years, and the list of benefits will never come close to reaching it. But thankfully since the NFL offices are in NY, they won’t have to travel. PHEWWW, I was worried they would be inconvenienced.

I’m guessing this will all but eliminate my name from the guest list to the 2014 Super Bowl, but some things just need to be pointed out, like what a bad decision this is.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Detroit Lions 4th-7th Round Picks

Here are the Detroit Lions 4th - 7th Round Picks and the breakdown and grade of the picks given by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com:
128. DET -- Jason Fox, OT, MIami

Nice pick Lions. They get a guy who would have been in first round consideration without his injury history. If they can keep him healthy, this'll be a great idea. Actually getting an offensive tackle earlier than the 7th is a heck of a start for Detroit.

213. DET -- Willie Young, DE, NC State

Another situational pass rusher. But this one plays with his hand on the ground. NOt bad.

7.255 Tim Toone, WR, Weber State

The 2010 Mr. Irrelevant is an interesting pick. He won’t contribute as anything more than a return man in my opinion, but with the last pick of the draft, it’s nice to have a little fun drafting a guy that probably didn’t think he’d hear his name called. GRADE: C

I love the Detroit draft. I think they should have looked to shore up the offensive tackle spot a little earlier, but this O line is better than advertised, even if it’s not there yet. Suh is a once-in-a-lifetime talent that will energize and revitalize this defense and this team. He’s the kind of player you just don’t pass on when you’re already set at quarterback. Suddenly this D line is pretty decent. Best is an electrifying back that this team hasn’t had since a guy who I won’t even name in the same sentence until the Cal rookie has proven himself. But he was the right call for a team in need of a ball-carrier. I think Spievey was one of the most underrated players in the entire draft, and he fills a major need at corner. Watch for him to get on the field very early.

Getting at least some offensive line help earlier than the seventh round, unlike last year, was a good thing. And Fox won’t be rushed onto the field; he’ll be given time to ferment and get healthy. He could be a mild steal in the fourth. Tim Toone is a pick I won’t rag on too much, though I thought it was pretty harsh for the fans to boo the old guy announcing the pick. Mr. Irrelevant should be someone no one’s heard of before. Really not high on Willie Young, and I think he’s too frail to develop into a real player, but his value is pretty high in the seventh.

People will complain about ignoring the issues on the O line yet again, but Rob Sims makes this line much better in pass pro, and that’s going to help. Having Jahvid Best on offense will add a completely new dimension to this unit, and the Lions are getting close to dangerous. Really interested to see what kind of impact Suh can have on the entire defense. This team got better this offseason in a big way, but there’s some real risk involved with Best, Spievey, and Fox.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Detroit Lions Three Round Grade

Here is the three round grade for the Lions by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com:
1. (02)Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska1. (30)Jahvid Best, RB, California3. (66)Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa

The early favorite for best draft overall in my opinion. As long as they add some legitimate help at offensive tackle soon, they’ll earn the honor. Suh is a beast and was the right call over Okung considering the difference in their overall abilities. The aggressive move for Best was a move that will instantly add a dynamic dimension to this offense and a great backfield duo with Kevin Smith. Spievey was one of the most underrated players in the draft. He’ll start for Detroit soon.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Detroit Lions Third Round Pick

Here is the Detroit Lions Third Round Pick and the breakdown and grade given by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com:
66. DET -- Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa

Love this pick. One of the best of the draft so far. Spievey is REALLY underrated, and is an excellent open field tackler. He's got good strength, and can really damage receivers at the line. Good size/speed/length. They needed a CB, and got a good one.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Interview with Joique Bell

Godfather: "Please explain why you took a chance on a smaller school in Wayne State a Division 2 School over bigger schools like Michigan and Michigan State "

Bell: In my sophomore year, my school needed a quarterback, so I only ended up playing only like 4 games as a running back , so schools didn't really notice me as a running back. Wayne State was the only school that took me seriously as a running back, unlike the other schools. 'So I chose Wayne State and it was a good choice for me.'

Godfather: "What do you think when the NFL Draft experts say how do we look at Bell's NFL potential when all we have are his numbers against Ferris State, Mercyhurst, Saginaw Valley, and Findlay. What do you say in response to that, Joique?"

Bell: Look at players like Westbrook and Randy Moss who came from small schools. 'When you get in the NFL, it's not about where you play at, its about what you do in the NFL. Nobody's going to talk about what you did in college.'

Godfather: "So how can you prove them wrong and what do you think you have done best to prove them wrong in your workouts and meeting with the teams?"

Bell: 'Teams right now aren't just looking for talent, they look for people with great character.' By going to college and doing well, and not getting into trouble, it lets NFL teams know that your not only serious about football, but that you are also serious about life.

Godfather: "What was it like playing with fellow senior NFL draft prospects after playing four years against inferior competition from Division 2 and which you were pretty much the only guy who would go on to play in the NFL? Did you feel that you fit in with these guys and what did you learn?"

Bell: 'Of course I felt like I fit in... I did what I always do, I played football'

Godfather: Do you think that you impressed enough to prove them wrong and to improve your draft stock?

Bell: ‘I believe I did. Everybody doesn’t have to like, only one person has to like you’

Godfather: So it sounds to me that you are ready to take that next step to go into the NFL…

Bell: Yes. I am ready. You better believe I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Godfather: “What other teams are visiting or working out for in the week in a half left until the NFL Draft?”

Bell: The Lions and the Chiefs

Godfather: “How did that go?”

Bell: It went very well.

Godfather: What have you been hearing lately about where you could go in the draft

Bell: Nobody knows. You really don’t know until the draft gets here. It could be the Lions or the Chiefs, or it could be a team I never have spoken to. ‘It plays with your mind a lot because you really don’t know.’

Friday, April 16, 2010

SportsTalkSoups NFL Mock Draft

1.) St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford , QB, Oklahoma; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com
By this point, there isn’t much to say. In my mind, this is Stafford to the Lions, a done deal. The Rams could certainly use a guy like Ndamukong Suh (who couldn’t?), but it looks like they’ll be smart enough to grab a franchise quarterback. After adding some weight, and showing no signs of those two shoulder injuries at his pro day, he should start buying dinner for the St. Louis O line now. Or maybe for the opposing D lines.
2.) Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska; picked by Sean Yuille, lead blogger at SB Nation's Detroit Lions blog, Pride of Detroit
For the Detroit Lions - a team filled with holes on the roster even after a successful free agency period that included both signings and trades - it’s tough to go wrong with the second overall pick. There are various scenarios out there that fans would be pleased with, and one of them is Sam Bradford being picked first overall by the Rams. That allows Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh to be picked by the Lions, adding a dominant defensive tackle to a defensive line that suddenly isn’t too shabby at all.

The Lions have already added defensive tackle Corey Williams via a trade with the Browns and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch via free agency. Adding Suh would not only give Lions fans great faith in the defensive line, but it would be another step in overhauling the entire defense and continuing to add talent to the team.

3.) Tampa Bay Bucs - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma; picked by Joe Everett of The Fantasy Exchange on BlogTalkRadio.com and of rookiedraft.com
The Bucs have some great options here but they could certainly use some help on their interior front and McCoy would make a addition in the Bucs’ revamped defense. Their tandem of Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims is shaky at best, so it would make a lot of sense for the Bucs to tandem McCoy up with last year’s 3rd rounder Roy Miller in that defensive line rotation.

McCoy might not be as good a fit as Suh would have been here but either way, the Bucs will be getting an elite defensive lineman to help improve a definite weakness.

4.) Washington Redskins - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State; picked by Ben Standig of FFToolbox

The Redskins went for it when they acquired Donovan McNabb and now they must start adding lineman to help protect their new quarterback. With the current state of the o-line, the former Eagles signal caller will be a permanent fixture at physical therapy if 1-2 additions are not made. Getting Okung is a great start. In his four seasons as a starter, the Cowboys led the Big 12 in rushing every season. With the depth at tackle and their lack of overall picks, a trade down makes a world of sense.

5.) KC Chiefs - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com

6.) Seattle Seahawks - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com

7.) Cleveland Browns - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee; picked by Steve DiMatteo of Dawg Pound Daily
At this point, the Browns would be thanking their lucky stars if safety Eric Berry fell to them with the seventh overall pick. This is a no-brainer for the Browns, as the secondary is arguably the area that needs the most work. Berry is an aggressive, physical player who would make an immediate impact on the Browns.

8.) Oakland Raiders - Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama; picked by Patrick Patterson of Thoughts From The Dark Side
Run support has been the bane of the Raiders existence for quite a while. And while some blame falls on the defensive tackles, equal blame goes to the linebackers. There hasn't been an answer at strong side linebacker for a long time and Kirk Morrison may not be best suited for the middle linebacker spot. McClain can play either spot which means that he could play strong side until he is ready to step into the middle linebacker role. Not to mention he was a huge factor for the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. That always sits well with Al Davis.
9.) Buffalo Bills - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame; picked by Brian Galliford, lead blogger at SB Nation's Buffalo Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings
GM Buddy Nix is preparing to run his first draft as the lead man in Buffalo, and his first pick is incredibly important - hit on it, and he's an instant celebrity; miss, and he's the latest in a long line of less-than-stellar decision-makers in Orchard Park. That's not fair, but that's exactly how it'll go down.
Jimmy Clausen's availability here makes Nix's decision easy. Or, rather, it makes my job easy in pretending to be Nix. Only
Detroit has been on the outside looking in at playoff football as long as the Bills (ten years), and the chief reason behind that is the lack of a franchise quarterback. Reviews are mixed on Clausen, and he's not as popular amongst NFL talent evaluators as he could be, but Buffalo's need at QB is so huge that they almost have to roll the dice here. (Unless they want to toss twice and target a certain Mr. Tebow in round two.)

I have no idea if the Bills like Clausen, and that's probably a good thing. I, personally, like Clausen - for a junior entrant, I think his game has a solid amount of polish, and I think his oft-criticized intangibles are slightly underrated. This is not a prospect I want to simply hand the starting job to, but if he beats out
Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm in an even-playing-field competition, he'll have at least earned his keep.

One thing is certain: whenever Nix gets his QB, I'll feel pretty good about it. This is a man who was with a
Chargers organization that drafted Drew Brees and Eli Manning - who was then flipped for Philip Rivers - during his tenure as Assistant GM. He was there for the selection of Charlie Whitehurst, who is apparently the greatest quarterback ever according to Pete Carroll. The man knows talent, and he seems to have good luck with quarterbacks. For the sake of Buffalo's sanity, I hope that lucky streak continues. I think it's got a good chance of continuing if Clausen is his man.
10.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Joe Haden, CB, Florida; picked by Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country
The Jaguars are stuck between a rock and a hard place at the No. 10 spot. They can hope a player takes a draft day slide, like Eugene Monroe did last year. However, the chances of Eric Berry or Jimmy Clausen being there at No. 10 are fairly slim.

Although Joe Haden is the best available player at this point, it is always better to match value and need. Rashean Mathis still has enough left in the tank, and Derek Cox played well enough last year. Earl Thomas would make more sense from a need standpoint, but what is he worth the No. 10 pick overall?

Derrick Morgan's unimpressive pro day and Jason Pierre-Paul's extreme boom-bust potential, coupled with Aaron Kampman's signing, make taking a DE less of an attractive option.

Honestly, at this point, the Jaguars will be looking to trade down and get more picks. With only six picks in a draft this loaded, it's a necessity. With two 3-4 teams picking after them, perhaps a team with its eye on Tennessee DT Dan Williams will want to jump the Broncos or Dolphins. Another possibility is Clemson RB C.J. Spiller.

11.) Denver Broncos - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State; picked by Joe Everett of The Fantasy Exchange on BlogTalkRadio.com and ofrookiedraft.com
12.) Miami Dolphins - Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com
This is another one of those picks. I really want to give Miami Dan Williams, but you just can’t ignore Bill Parcell’s track record. He likes linebackers in the first; he likes defensive linemen in the second or third. The Dolphins couldn’t rush the passer last year, and they just lost one of the guys who couldn’t do it. Trust me, it’s like dividing by zero. It may not make much sense, but somehow losing a guy who couldn’t get to the QB makes them even weaker when it comes to pressuring the opponent. Anyway, Sergio Kindle is an athletic guy who has really impressed in the workouts despite lacking refinement and production (last season). Maybe he develops into DeMarcus Ware. Maybe he’s Vernon Gholston. Either way, Miami needs some help on the outside of the 3-4, and Kindle seems like more of a fit here than Brandon Graham.

13.) San Francisco 49ers - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers; picked by Todd Kleinheinz of NFL Draft Pros
14.) Seattle Seahawks - CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com
The Seahawks are hurting for a defensive end, but that might fly out the window in the first round if CJ Spiller is available here. I think that Pete Carrol will look to draft some players whose style is familiar to him. Spiller is as close to Reggie Bush as anyone in this draft, and Seattle needs a running back almost as badly as an OT. Something has to be done about that whole “starting Julius Jones” thing. This is an electric player who is a threat to go the distance every play whether it’s on a run, a catch, or a return. He can be the shot in the arm this offense needs, and he’ll take some pressure off of whoever ends up at QB. Again, I know defensive end is a need, and there are some great options on the board, but defensive coaches usually feel like they can work with anything on their own side of the ball, and focus on adding talent to the offense.
15.) NY Giants - Sean Witherspoon, LB, Missouri
Antrell Rolle was signed to fill the Giants void at safety and can take care of their middle linebacker need as well. With McClain long gone, the Giants go to plan 1A in Weatherspoon, who put on a show for the Tigers this year and followed it up with a strong Senior Bowl performance. Whether he ultimately stays inside or his moved to OLB, the Giants have added a major force for their second level of defense. Idaho guard Mike Iupati is another way Big Blue could go the drop from McClain to Weatherspoon is too much in their eyes.
16.) Tennessee Titans - Jason Pierre - Paul; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com
The Titans don’t really have any defensive ends. Or at least, they don’t have any that can generate a solid pass rush. It’s a risky strategy, but if I’m Tennessee, I’m changing my thinking. A guy like Jason Pierre-Paul is an athletic freak, with unlimited upside. The Titans have had a lot of success with those types of players, on both sides of the ball, and Nashville should be a perfect fit for a guy like this. He’ll be well-coached, and if he’s maximized he’ll help beat Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub. Literally.
17.) San Francisco - Earl Thomas, S, Texas; picked by Todd Kleinheinz of NFL Draft Pros
18.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho; picked by Michael Bean, lead blogger at SB Nation's Pittsburgh Steelers blog, Behind the Steel Curtain
The idea is that Pittsburgh needs interior line help. Ben Roethlisberger is probably never going to get rid of the ball quicker, so it's imperative the Steelers' offensive line can hold onto blocks.

The ideal pick would probably be Maurkice Pouncey. But with him gone in this scenario, Iupati would be a good pickup. He should start from day one for Pittsburgh. He's stellar in run and pass blocking.

19.) Atlanta Falcons - Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan; picked by Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com

20.) Houston Texans - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee; picked by Tim of SB Nation's Houston Texans blog, Battle Red Blog

Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to have a defensive tackle who wasn't an embarrassment. No, wait... I mean the Texans have yearned for that. Over the past couple of years, we've trotted out the likes of Travis Johnson, Anthony Maddox, Shaun Cody, and Jeff "Cankles" Zgonina. In fact, when fans voted on an all-decade Texans team, the eminently mediocre Seth Payne and underachieving Amobi Okoye were our big winners at DT. Hold on, I need to chug some whiskey.

Okay, I'm back.

Some of you might be saying, "
Hey, the Texans' run game last year was a joke! You guys need a running back." This is half right, but the basic assumptions are incorrect. Our run game was horrible because we trotted out two of the worst starting guards in football last year, and our run game play-calling was dark humor. We believe we can address the run game in later rounds, and with Iupati and Pouncey already off the board, the talent gap at NT is simply greater. Ryan Mathews might be a good pick here, but not even the love child of Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders would've done much behind the play of our offensive line last year. Plus, Steve Slaton should be back and healthy, and he's just one year removed from a 1,282-yard rushing season.

So, why NT? Simply, we need to free up
Antonio Smith, Okoye, and Mario Williams, and getting to the QB quicker means our secondary needs less time to hold coverage. In addition, Dan Williams strengthens our run defense even more, and his presence could (and should) allow us to blitz Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans more freely. With only 30 sacks last year, we just aren't getting to the QB on a consistent basis. Super Mario is a deity, and Smith isn't going anywhere. Okoye could blossom with his ability to shoot gaps, and we believe a true NT will help him explode in 2010.

The Texans are going to put up points by the bushel, but we need to do a better job keeping points off the board. The Battle Red Blog brain-trust (
sic) believes Dan Williams will bring better interior line play and help push us over the brink and into the playoffs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Yankees Tossing Out Offers!

The Yankees are apparently offering AJ Burnett $80 million for 5 years, which is above what the Braves biggest offer has been thus far. This is obviously newsworthy in it of itself; however, there may be a deeper indication that this offer expresses. ie. Either that the Derek Lowe sweepstakes are getting away from the Yankees or that the Yankees have realized that Derek Lowe is 35 and not worth $64-68 million!

Personally, I would rather sign Oliver Perez and Ben Sheets that either of these 2, but hey, that is why Cashman makes the big bucks. Then again, he has screwed up almost every pitching decision he has made over the last number of years (some of the big ones are Wright, Randy Johnson, Hawkins, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes over Johan, the list goes on). Maybe I should take over for Cashman!