November 8, 2008

Skins Go Out of Their Way to Screw Up Team

In retrospect, the answer was obvious. Who would be dumb enough to sign a cancer like DeAngelo Hall in the middle of a season? Certainly not a contender without a pressing need at cornerback. Well, unless that team is the Redskins. Of course, they could not resist signing Hall for a pro-rated $1M contract.

blablahblalahhblaah We can expect to see some more of this.
The Skins have capable cornerbacks, led especially by veteran Shawn Springs. Fred Smoot and Carlos Rodgers are serviceable NFL cornerbacks, and Leigh Torrance fills in well in nickel and backup situations. Why would any team, much less a team that has been criticized for poor drafting and short-sighted free agent moves, bring in a known cancer who they don't even have a spot for on the field? It's truly nonsensical, until you remember the players involved.

All Skins problems start at the top, with the Napoleonic Daniel Snyder. The bye week is a Skins fan's worst enemy. Snyder cannot have the Skins out of the spotlight. He likes to make a splash, and with the Cowboys coming up I have to think it's his way of saying to Jerry Jones, "See, we can integrate a cancer, too. Just like you did with T.O." The flaw in this logic is that the Cowboys haven't even won a playoff game with T.O., and those wheels are barely staying on at all times.

blahblaahblahblah Shouldn't the leprechaun be wearing the vest?

Next down is Vinny Cerrato, the Director of Player Personnel or whatever his title is. We just know for sure it isn't GM, as the Skins have been without one for some time now. Vinny is widely perceived as Danny's lapdog, but realistically he's been putting his own stamp on the organization. The Skins kept all 10 of their draft picks, which is four more than they've even been averaging in recent years due to brilliant moves like trading a fourth round pick to Atlanta for T.J. Duckett, and then not playing him at all. That decision to retain all the rookies drew some fire, especially because the picks included TE Fred Davis who cannot even be on the field still. Cooley and Todd Yoder are the TEs who actually play. The Skins also wasted early picks on two WRs who never seem to have gotten out of Zorn's dog house and have shown absolutely nothing in the preseason or in limited regular season action.

The coaches, Jim Zorn and Greg Blache, probably had the least to do with this. I think Blache is comfortable with what he has on defense, and I don't think Zorn has any problems with what the defense has been doing to keep the Skins in games.

blahblahh "Jim Zorn Meal: What You Get When You're Not Sure What to Have"

Even though ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that the team consulted with defensive leaders London Fletcher and Cornelius Griffin, I can't imagine they gave Hall a glowing endorsement. Surely the defense is tired of Carlos Rodgers dropping sure interceptions and touchdowns, but they probably also recognize that he's at least in position to make plays. Hall has been a coverage disaster this year and in past seasons in Atlanta.

All in all it's another head-scratcher. At least Jason Taylor doesn't screw up on the field or in the locker room. He just likes to dance dance dance. Hall could actually cost the Skins a game, and in the NFC East that game could be the difference between hosting a playoff game and traveling to Green Bay in January.

November 6, 2008

College Football Picks - Week 11

Well, things were downright ugly last week for my picks (0-5), and the Terps' performance hasn't exactly improved my mood. However, there are some exciting games this weekend. Let's take a look.

TEXAS TECH (-3) over Oklahoma State - The Cowboys are 0-5 in Lubbock as members of the Big 12, and the Red Raiders are pretty sharp. You have to worry about a letdown after last week, but TT only has 5 plays to practice so what's to scheme? Besides, we can't have 2 straight years where #1 or #2 loses each of the last 6 or 8 weeks of the year, right?

The Mad Hatter has just been Mad lately. Defense? What defense?

Alabama (-3) over LSU - I know the Tide hasn't looked sharp lately, but remember what they did on the road at Georgia in the first half. Add in that LSU gave up 50 points to Florida and Georgia, plus Saban's history and the fact that John Parker is always better on the road, you get a Tide victory.

Penn State (-7.5) over IOWA - Clark is back and the Hawkeyes won't be able to slow down the Spread-HD.

Virginia (+4) over WAKE FOREST - The Deacons' offense is not the same this year, and it has really struggled against the better teams in this league.

NC State (+3.5) over DUKE - The Wolfpack will find a way to get their 1st ACC win. They've been really close against better teams than Duke.

Kansas (+1.5) over NEBRASKA - The Jayhawks might not have defense, but did you see what Oklahoma did to the "Black Shirts" last week? Kansas has enough offense to win this.

Last Week: 0-5 (ouch)
Season: 33-26-2

NFL Picks Week 10

Brien (24-21):

I'm slowly sliding back to the rest of the pack.

Tennessee (-3) over CHICAGO: I still think the Titans aren't getting enough respect. Plus, the Bears will be starting the Sex Cannon at QB.

Denver (-3) over CLEVELAND: The Broncos have the league's worst record against the spread, but I still prefer them over taking Brady Quinn in his first start after a short week.

PITTSBURGH (-3) over Indianapolis: I hate picking Steelers games, and I wish I could wait to pick this game until we get a full injury report on Roethlisberger, but I think the Steelers defense will be too much for the Colts.

NY Giants (+3) over PHILADELPHIA: This has to be a trap game, because I don't understand why the Giants would be getting points from anyone in the league right now.

Baltimore (pk) over HOUSTON: The Ravens seem to be improving, and I still don't think the Texans are all that good.

Jason (22-23):
I'm once again crawling back towards .500. Maybe I can keep some momentum this week.

Baltimore (pk) over HOUSTON: Maybe this is the sucker game of the week, but I still think Flacco only struggles when he's intimidated.

Indianapolis (-3) over PITTSBURGH: It's time for Peyton to will them to victory.

N.Y. Giants (-3) over PHILADELPHIA: Just sheer talent.

MIAMI (-9) over Seattle: I'm operating on the west coast coming east and Seattle is a total trainwreck rules. Also, this is a WTF line.

Tennessee (-3) over CHICAGO: Maybe if Tenn hadn't just gotten a scare and Orton was healthy.

Jeremy (24-21):
With a good showing this week, I can overtake Brien for the lead. Sweet.

Kansas City (+15) over SAN DIEGO: The Chargers D isn't that great and the Chiefs have quietly started moving the ball slightly effectively. look for a Chargers win but not covering the spread.

PITTSBURGH (-3) over Indianapolis: Having seen the Steelers in person, I am very, very, very impressed.

Tennessee (-3) over CHICAGO: If Orton was playing, I might call this line differently.

Baltimore (pk) over HOUSTON: I have faith in the Unibrow to win this game. The Texans have never proven themselves to me.

Green Bay (+2.5) over MINNESOTA: A very odd line. The Packers haven't exactly been playing badly. Yeah, it's on the road, but the Packers played in a far more hostile place last week against a far better opponent, and only lost by 3.

Magic 8 Ball (23-22):

SAN DIEGO (-15) over Kansas City:
"Signs point to yes." (Chargers beating spread)

Indianapolis (+3) over PITTSBURGH: "My answer is no." (Steelers won't beat spread)

Tennessee (-3) over CHICAGO: "No." (Bears won't beat the spread)

HOUSTON (pk) over Baltimore: "Signs point to yes." (Texans beating spread)

MINNESOTA (-2.5) over Green Bay: "Yes." (Minnesota will beat the spread)

Russell (20-25):
If I have a poor showing this week also, I'm going to have to try a totally different strategy.

Baltimore (pk) over HOUSTON: Ummm..., the Texans haven't beaten anyone good.

NEW ENGLAND (-4) over Buffalo: The Bills' season is going south in a hurry.

DETROIT (+7) over Jacksonville: Yeah, I think the Jags are that bad. Does Jack regret releasing Byron?

St Louis (+8) over NY JETS: The Jets haven't looked dominant lately, and the Rams had a couple sharp games.

San Francisco (+10) over ARIZONA: This is a purely sentimental pick for Maryland West.

Jeremy - BAL, GB, KC, PIT, TEN
Russell - BAL, DET, NE, SF, STL
Magic 8 - HOU, IND, MIN, SD, TEN

If the Nats are irrelevant, maybe it means nobody will see these...

So it's officially the baseball offseason, which for teams like the Washington Nationals, means a very important time. No, not because we are actually in the hunt for a big-name, franchise-changing free agent. Because it's "hot stove uniform" time! Yes, it's time to unveil our new uniforms for the 2009 season...

We start with a hat that will be worn on special occasions such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day. This two-toned hat, with the interlocking alternate DC logo filled with an American flag design was designed by the same people who design uniforms for the South Atlantic League and for the Canadian Football League. What could be worse than the hat, you ask? Well, this...

This jersey will match the hat that is worn on special occasions. The navy blue jersey with red and white striping down the torso will make a wonderful stocking stuffer, and is sure to be found at your local DC-area T.J. Maxx and Marshall's within the next 12 months. This looks less like a baseball jersey and more like something that you might see on somebody in a marching band. But at least with these two awful additions to the Nationals alternate jersey collection, we have been given this...
The Nationals new away jersey, doing away with the block "WASHINGTON" in all capital letters and incorporating the script "Washington" to harken back to the Senators away jerseys. A very attractive jersey that also manages to unobtrusively feature the alternate interlocking DC logo on the sleeves.

Since more people will see the Nats on the road than will actually be coming to Nationals Park to see them at home, I'm glad that the majority of people who watch Nationals games in person will get a look at this great uniform.

November 2, 2008

NFL Twitter - Week 9

After a long Sunday, NFL personalities vent their frustrations on twitter.

Al Davis Is this hell? Am I dead? 77 yards against the goddamn Falcons? What's the point in cheating death if this is all you have to show for it?
briencBrad Johnson Is it too late for me to walk on the Seminole basketball team?
briencMatt Ryan No one is asking about Mike Vick now, huh? This is my team, bitches.
briencRayRay Can't believe the offense bailed us out again. No way that other white boy makes up 14 pts. This cracker with the unibrow might work out.
briencKerry Collins Wow, that game was stressful. I could sure use a drink.
briencMarvin Lewis Well, that buys me another week, at least.
briencDerek Anderson I fucking hate Cleveland. I'm the best player on the field all game and they're still chanting Brady? Those rednecks deserve that fag.
briencVD Thank God for the bye week. That means at least 14 days without seeing coach's dong.

Lewis Hamilton Wins F1 Championship in Amazing Fashion

Last year's F1 Drivers' Championship ended with the top three drivers separated by 1 point, but this year's finale still surpassed it.

Lewis Hamilton entered the Brazilian Grand Prix with a 7 point lead and needing only a 5th place finish to secure his first championship. Felipe Massa needed to win the race and have Hamilton finish worse than 5th to win.

As the race entered the final few laps, Massa was leading the race and Hamilton was in 5th, leaving no margin for error. Then the rain started to fall. All of the drivers except Timo Glock stopped for wet-weather tires to handle the wet track.

With 2 laps to go, Hamilton was passed by Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso. Massa crossed the finish line in first with Hamilton in sixth place, appearing to win the championship. Instead, as the cars came around the final turn, Hamilton and Vettel both passed a slowing Glock, giving Hamilton 5th place. Glock's gamble to stay on dry tires almost paid off, but he came up 200m short.

Both Ferrari and McLaren were celebrating, each thinking that their driver had won the championship. Instead, the race ended with both Massa and Hamilton in tears, the former tears of sadness and the latter tears of joy.

I don't particularly care for either driver, but it's difficult to imagine a more dramatic end to the season. Hamilton is certainly a deserving champion, both the youngest in F1 history and the first driver of color to win the championship. Next year sets up a very interesting rematch between the two drivers.

Update: Check out the video of the final lap and aborted Massa family celebration before F1 Management takes it down.