Saturday, May 31, 2008

Up To Speed- KC Chiefs

Things actually started out pretty well for the Chiefs last year. They headed into a mid-season bye week with a 4-3 record, surprising the hell out of me and in first place in the AFC West.

When they came back from that bye week, the wheels fell off. They lost about 24 games in a row and ended the season nowhere near the top of the AFC West or any other division other than the Complete Frigging Mess Division.

By the end of the season, the Chiefs stunk in every area. The running game struggled even before Larry Johnson was lost for the season, and got even worse after. The defense, which had been pretty stout before the bye week, not allowing more than 20 points to everyone, suddenly started playing like it was Tecmo Bowl and they consistently picked the wrong play, and the other team had Bo Jackson. They ended the season giving up 131 rushing yards a game, ranking 28th in the league.

The passing game was bad too. Damon Huard was unable to replicate his inexplicable 2006 magic, and gave way to young Brodie Croyle, who was even worse (7 passer rating points worse) than Huard. There were a couple of bright spots in that future HOF TE Tony Gonzalez had a huge rebound season with 1172 yards, and rookie Dwayne Bowe just missed a 1000 yard season, both feats made more impressive when you consider who they had throwing to them.

Given all this, headed into the draft you would think that the 2 areas the Chiefs needed to address desperately were the interior defense line (to shore up that dreadful run defense), and quarterback. Then, days before the draft, the Chiefs traded NFL sack leader Jared Allen to the Vikings for the 15th pick in the draft. Allen became a very rich man after the Vikings gave him a new contract, and the Chiefs found themselves with another need area, but 2 first round picks with which to address them.

1st round pick #1, the 5th overall, will do nicely. The Chiefs decision was made for them when the Falcons took Matt Ryan with the 3rd pick, and the Raiders took Darren McFadden with the 4th. DT Glenn Dorsey fell into their laps at #5, and is exactly what the Chiefs' defense needed. He'll be the run stopper, and has pass rushing abilities that could help remove some of the burden of replacing Allen off the shoulders of 06 1st round pick Tamba Hali, who had 7 1/2 sacks last year and figures only to get better.

The Chiefs used that 15th overall pick to make a needed upgrade their offensive tackle position, taking Virginia's Brandon Albert. He's a long, athletic type who actually played interior line in college. The Chiefs want him to be a tackle though, so there may be a learning curve for him.

Ty Law's replacement at corner was found in the 2nd round, with the Chiefs taking Va Tech corner Brandon Flowers in the second round. Flowers will start immediately at corner. The book on him is that he's strong and a good press corner but lacks speed. That's fine, but at 5-10 I have to wonder how effective he can be in the NFL as a press corner.

The consensus was that the Chiefs hit a home run in this year's draft. Of course, with 2 of the top 15 picks, it's hard not to give the impression that you had a good draft. We all know that high draft picks don't always play as well in the pros as they did in college.

Glenn Dorsey is the right player on the right team, and Albert, if he's good as the Chiefs hope he is, will start for the next 10 years. The Chiefs also have Larry Johnson coming back, hopefully healthy, hopefully happy, and Bowe and Gonzalez as 2 other potent weapons. The bad news is, Brodie Croyle is still the quarterback, and while the defense and running game should be better than last year, they won't be good enough for the Chiefs to cancel out having a zero at QB.

Progress will be made this year, and the Chiefs will win more than the 4 games they did last season, but they'll miss the playoffs again and will have to address the QB situation in the next offseason. Now you're up to speed on the Chiefs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Up To Speed- Oakland Raiders

The Raiders struggled to do a lot of things last year. Running the ball wasn't one of them. Justin Fargas came out of nowhere last year to average 4 1/2 yards a carry, and lead the Raiders to the 6th ranked running game in the NFL.

The team stunk in just about every other area though. Their passing game ranked 31st, their run defense did too. So, with the 4th pick in the draft, you would expect the Raiders to shore up one of these weaknesses.

Of course, these are the Raiders, and personnel decisions that make sense are not what they do best. They used the 4th overall pick in the draft to choose Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. This pick can go one of two ways. McFadden will either be Adrian Peterson, in which case this pick is a stroke of genius, or he'll be Reggie Bush, in which case it isn't.

McFadden is the second offensive skill position player the Raiders have used a top 5 pick on in as many years. The other guy, QB JaMarcus Russell, enters this year with everything to prove. Last year was a waste for him. He missed pretty much all of the preseason in a holdout, and didn't see significant playing time until Week 16. He posted a 55.7 passer rating, and already is on bust watch.

Russell will have a new target to throw to this year in newly signed WR Javon Walker. Walker was hurt most of last season, but he should still be an upgrade over the departed Jerry Porter.

One area that is a definite strength for the Raiders is their secondary. The Raiders ranked 8th in the league in pass defense last year, and went out and got one of the league's best corners in former Falcon D'Angelo Hall. They also signed former Giants safety Gibril Wilson, whose 4 INTs and 7 PD's earned him an insane contract from an insane old man.

As for that 31st ranked run defense, the Raiders did nothing to upgrade it, and if you can't stop the run, you've got no chance in American football, especially when you face LT, LJ, and whoever the Broncos are rolling out at running back in 08 twice a year. The Raiders have invested premium draft picks in their offense each of the last 2 years, and the offense still doesn't seem like it will be any good. Darren McFadden may be fun to watch, but the Raiders won't be. Now you're up to speed on the Raiders.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Man U wins Champions League

Fuck John Terry. I took a day off to see him miss the game winning penalty kick.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Liverpool is the Best Club (FUoliporter)

In the beginning of the season, I bet Oli Porter that if Newcastle wasn't in the top 6, I would write something for him. Well, fuck, here it is.

Fuck you.

10 Reasons Why Liverpool is the best club

10. Cool logo

The bird looks like a phoenix (it's a liver bird), it's got flames that are symbolic of the Hillsborough Memorial, and it says, "You'll never walk alone" on the logo. All these things are better than a boat on the logo with two volley balls on the side.

9. Cool jersey

Besides the fact that they were the first British professional jersey to have a sponsor on it, it's red. And not the annoying red.

8. Cool nickname

The Reds. It's simple and you know what color their jersey is from their nickname.

7. Crazy fans

They kill people. See #2

6. Cool chant

"You'll never walk alone" was written by two guys from Liverpool. Why is this song cool? In the musical it was written for, "Carousel," Nettie Fowler, the cousin of the female protagonist Julie Jordan, sings the song to comfort and encourage Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, the male lead, has killed himself after a failed robbery. It's a song comforting someone that killed himself because he fucked up stealing shit. How is that not cool?

5. Nice stadium

Whereas everyone else makes new stadiums, Liverpool did it right the first time, only ever playing in Anfield. Alright, another one is being built, but it's because Americans want that.

4. Great history

18 football league championships, seven League Cup victories, five European cups, twice winning three cups in one season, and once getting the double (League and FA Cup). And a partridge in a pear fucking tree, eat shit.

3. Amazing players

Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, John Barnes, Steve McManaman, Peter Beardsley, and Fernando Torres are some of the sweet players the have or are playing for the club. Big boner time. When I look at other teams' historic rosters, RIP my boner.

2. Great rivalries

Liverpool fans are crazy and they kill people. They fight for anything. They hate Manchester United because they are successful and are near them. They hate Everton because of religion. They hate your mom because she didn't give birth to a Liverpool fan. Liverpool fans are crazy and will go to your country to tell you so.

1. Great city to play in

Have you ever even BEEN to Liverpool to see how awesome it is? Okay, well, I haven't either. But Oli Porter says it's awesome like the picture below.

There Oli. I paid off my debt. Dick.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Draft Recap- Atlanta Falcons

My apologies for being away so long. I attribute it mostly to laziness. Laziness and ketamine.

The Atlanta Falcons are a team that has decided to move on from the Michael Vick Era. Which is a good thing, because Michael Vick is in jail. While it will be difficult to put behind them the multiple Super Bowls and eye popping passing numbers that Vick gave the Falcons over the years, put it behind them they must.

What? Vick never won any Super Bowls? And his passing numbers were among the worst of any active NFL quarterback during his career? You're kidding me. Chris Berman kept telling me he was redefining not just the position but the game. Are you trying to tell me Chris Berman doesn't know what he is talking about? I refuse to accept that.

The Falcons signalled their new era not just by using the third overall pick in the draft to select a new QB, Boston College's Matt Ryan (more on that later), they said goodbye to Vick's favorite receiver, TE Alge Crumpler, running back Warrick Dunn, and corner DeAngelo Hall, who was probably the Falcons' best defensive player, if not always their happiest.

So, getting back to Ryan. His selection was kind of a surprise. I had them taking LSU DT Glenn Dorsey with the third overall pick. The defense ranked 26th against the run last year, and didnt have anyone outside of DE John Abraham who could rush the passer. Dorsey would have helped them with both of those problems.

Coulda but wonta. They decided they wanted to put the period at the end of the Michael Vick sentence, and bring in Ryan. There's nothing wrong with Ryan. By all accounts he's going to be a very good NFL quarterback. The problem is he has one viable receiver, Roddy White, to work with, and little else. Granted, the Falcons now have a pretty nice running back tandem in Michael Turner and Jerrious Norwood to help take the burden off the passing game, but most miserable teams turn it around by building a defense first. It's just easier.

Atlanta had a second first round pick, and used that 21st overall selection to take USC offensive tackle Sam Baker. Baker is quick, agile, and smart, and was a 4 year starter for the Trojans. The only concern with him is that he's seen as a finesse player, but there's really no reason to think he shouldn't succeed. He'll enter the season as the starting left tackle.

Curtis Lofton, the Falcons second round pick, was one of the best of a weak class of inside linebackers. He's got speed and tackling skills, but he's an even six feet is a little small for his position. Franchise mainstay Keith Brooking is the incumbent MLB, but he may be moved outside to make room in the middle for former Sooner Lofton.

The Falcons had 3 third round picks. The first was used on LSU corner Chevis Jackson. The comments I've read on him say he is small and slow. Other than that he's great though. He will compete to fill Hall's vacated spot. The next third round selection garnered Louisville WR Harry Douglas, who had back to back 1000 yard seasons with the Cards, but at 5-11 170 relies wholely on technique. The Falcons hope he can turn into Wes Welker, the way I hope I can someday be the meat in a Reese Witherspoon/Carrie Underwood sandwich.

Their last third round selection was Cal safety Thomas DeCoud. He's raw but has good physical tools, and is seen as someone who can play either corner or safety.

The Falcons are going to be an interesting team to watch in 08, if not a good one. Watching top 10 drafted QB's develop is always fun. I can't think of anything more fun than watching David Carr or Joey Harrington try to live up to expectations. They definitely chose sizzle over steak this offseason, and I wish them luck with that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Manchester United Repeat as EPL Champions

Settled on the last day of the season, Manchester United won the EPL 2007-8.

Manchester United needed to win against a defiant Wigan to clinch the EPL title. Chelsea needed to win and for Manchester United to tie or lose to win the title. Both games played at the same time (or tried to), which added major drama.

Manchester United struck first on a bullshit penalty call that a terrible playing Cristiano Ronaldo converted. On the other channel, Chelsea scored on Bolton from substitute "Waste-of-Money" Shevchenko. The pressure was on Man U. Wigan was piling on the pressure and it would only take one goal from Wigan and Chelsea would become EPL champs. An obvious penalty for Man U not called evened out the bullshit penalty they got. As it got down to the wire, Scholes scored for Man U to solidify Man U's EPL title. Meanwhile, Chelsea lets Bolton score to tie them in the final minute of stoppage time in a now meaningless match. Manchester United repeat as champions. manchester United are deservingly the champions after a great season of offensive onslaught.

May 21st, these two teams meet again, this time in Moscow, to determine the Champions League title. Guess who's getting a little sick near the 21st...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Draft Recap- St. Louis Rams

After the Dolphins announced they had signed Jake Long, the Rams' choices with the second pick in the draft were really narrowed down to 2. They could either select a pass rusher, Chris Long, that would help them improve a pass defense that ranked 21st last year, or they could select a run stopping tackle, Glenn Dorsey, that would help them improve their 20th ranked run defense.

They chose Long, who had a monster (14 sacks) senior season at Virginia after a non-descript career as an underclassman. If Leonard Little comes back healthy next year, and doesn't run anyone over in a drunken stupor, the Rams could have a formidable little pass rush in 08

In the second round, the Rams took University of Houston wideout Donnie Avery. Avery will get a chance to be the new #2 wideout on the Rams, now that Isaac Bruce's 39 year run with the Rams has finally come to an end. Avery is really, really fast. He is listed as running a 4.39 40 yard dash, which was the fastest of any wide receiver in this draft class. He has a reputation of having suspect hands though, but they were good enough to catch 91 balls for 1456 yards last year, so how bad can they be?

Third round pick John Greco was a tackle at Toledo, but his pass blocking is said to be not so good, so he'll probably get a shot to start at guard this year.


After taking a wideout and a guard with their 2nd and 3rd round picks, the Rams did the same thing with their 4th and 5th round selections, taking Kentucky WR Keenan Burton in the 4th round, and Oregon St. guard Roy Schuening in the fifth. They also moved to shore up their secondary by taking Penn State corner Justin King in the 4th round (they had 2 4th round picks). King has good speed but gets manhandled by bigger recievers. He was drafted to push Tye Hill, who was a first round pick in 06 but thus far has been kind of a bust. Seventh round picks Chris Chamberlain (Tulsa) and David Vobora (Idaho) are linebacker types who will try to stick on special teams.
It says a lot about this draft that Chris Long was the second player taken in it. What it says is that this draft was really weak. The Rams have so many holes on defense that taking a wideout with their second pick was a luxury they really can't afford.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

La Liga 2007-2008 Clinched

Real Madrid 2007-2008 League Champions

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Draft Recap- Miami Dolphins

The draft is over. Now it is left to know nothing know it alls like myself to try and pick "winners" and "losers". Never mind that in reality, we won't know who the real winners and losers in this draft were until 2010, and by then we should all be much too busy being pleasured by and pleasuring our robot wives to care.

With that in mind, I embark on an ambitious project to critique each of the 32 teams drafts in the next 32 days. I am sure I'll miss some days here in there...but the idea is to have this finished by, like, July.

So, we start with the team that picked first overall, the Miami Dolphins.

Of course, this was the Dolphins' first draft under the auspices of their new president.

That, of course, is Bill Parcells. The guy who would not acknowledge Jason Taylor's existence because Taylor is too busy mincing around in sequins on Dancing With the Stars to mince around in mesh shorts at minicamp.

So who did Parcells and the Dolphins select?

With the first pick in the draft, the Dolphins selected Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long. In doing so, they passed on a pass rusher, Virginia's Chris Long. Jake Long is considered to be a much better run blocker than he is a pass blocker, which I guess is a good thing being that the Dolphins probably will run Ronnie Brown about 700 times next year, seeing as how they have no quarterback and no decent receivers.

The Dolphins used their first pick of the second round to get a defensive end, taking Clemson junior Phillip Merling. Merling, like the guy they passed on, Chris Long, played in the ACC last year. Long had 14 sacks though, while Merling had only 7. The thinking is that Merling is big enough to do more than rush the passer. He's 6-5, while Long is only 6-3. He'll probably start opposite Taylor at end this year.

Miami used its other second round selection to take Michigan QB Chad Henne. Henne is best known for being the QB of the Michigan team that lost to Appalachian State. Because he's a QB and he played at Michigan, a lot of people compared him to Tom Brady going into the draft. Who am I to argue with that logic?

Third round D-lineman Kendall Langford is from I-AA Hampton, and is said to be a project who is 2 years away from contributing. So now you all have something to look forward to.

With their remaining picks, the Dolphins got a pair of O-linemen. Utah State's Shawn Murphy went in the 4th round. He's a Mormon and should play hard to support his wives and children. UConn's Donald Thomas went in the 6th round. They also got a pair of running backs, the more promising of which is Toledo's Jalen Parmele, who ran for 14 TDs last year.

Big Tuna's first draft
Reunited Wolverines
UM sucked last year