August 13, 2009

Excuse for Colt Brennan

[Post 1500!!!]
I'm not going to dwell on the Ravens 23-0 drubbing of the Redskins tonight, since it is the preseason after all. Evaluating the Redskins without Clinton Portis and Santana Moss is a bit unfair. Still, the Ravens do appreciate the Redskins coming up and standing around so we could run our practice.

I mean, at least the Skins spelled their own veterans' names correctly on their jerseys. Oh wait...

Colt Brennan was the darling of last year's Skins' preseason. He compiled an impressive 36 for 53 with 411 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions. Given that Jason Campbell has struggled at times and generally been uninspiring, many D.C. fans wondered if they had the answer holding the clipboard.

Brennan played the second half of tonight's shutout loss to the Ravens. He looked uncomfortable, often turning into pressure instead of sliding around it. He had a couple decent scrambles, but threw a bad interception and looked indecisive. He rang up a pretty putrid 4 for 12 for 43 yards and the pick.

I have a theory. After being dismissed from Colorado after his redshirt 2003 season for entering a female coed's dorm room and exposing himself, Brennan transferred to Saddleback College in California and led them to a conference championship [Shameless plug: I will be covering issues like this on my legal blog, The Law on Campus]. He then transferred again to Hawaii, where he started three straight years and broke a handful of NCAA records. He transitioned into the Redskins third-string job as a rookie and was by far the most impressive Skins' quarterback of the preseason.

It is possible that Brennan simply had a bad game. My personal theory is that the disruption of being a four-year starter and then not playing at all for literally 11 months might have thrown Brennan. Perhaps he has knocked off some rust and his instinct will come back to him over the next three weeks. On the other hand, if I am right do you really want him coming off the bench in the second quarter of a November NFC East contest?

We'll see.

Other game notes: All three Ravens QBs threw for over 100 yards according to the box score. Flacco and John Beck each had just over 100 yards and Troy Smith accumulated 200. Fifteen different Ravens caught passes. Derrick Mason did start despite recently injuring a finger.

NFL Factoid

No division in the NFL has four teams with Super Bowl victories under their belt. The AFC West and NFC East each have three teams [Commenter Michaelangelo correctly points out that the AFC East has three also]. The AFC South (Indianapolis) and NFC South (Tampa Bay) each only have one.

Eagles and Chargers fans are hoping that changes this year.

August 12, 2009

Baltimore Close to Green Flag for Indy Race

Baltimore City Councilman William H. Cole, IV, introduced a resolution in support of hosting an Indy Racing League event in the city's Inner Harbor. The measure passed unanimously.

Though there are still some serious milestones yet to pass, the city itself seems to be fully behind the event. Moreover, I (as a resident) have yet to hear a single voice oppose the idea.

Imagine the Hyatt instead of fans.

Baltimore Racing Development is spearheading the project. Feasibility studies are in progress to determine how the race would impact city residents. The route is also being investigated. Lastly, funding will of course be a hurdle.

Still, racing fans in Maryland who prefer more than left turns are excited about the prospect of a real racing event in the heart of the city. After the enormously successful soccer friendly between AC Milan and Chelsea, Baltimore is proving itself to be a little more cosmopolitan in sporting taste than the grimy exterior would indicate.

Fantasy Football Etiquette

Ahh, August... that time when the dog days of summer are upon us, and our thought soon turn to bye weeks, touchdown vultures, and fantasy football.

All four of us ECB contributors play in a league together, and I'm relatively sure 99% of our 6 readers also play fantasy football (basic math tells me that means 5.94 of our readers play fantasy football). As we head towards draft time, we here at ECB would like to offer some basic rules of fantasy football etiquette to live by. Much like the unspoken rules of baseball (don't hit Prince Fielder when you're up by 13 runs and he outweighs you by 150 pounds), these are rules that you just store away as dogma:

1) Pay your Commish
This one should be obvious, but as somebody who has a few years of Commissioner experience under his belt, it's very rarely followed by everyone in the league. If the past is prologue, I will be hunting people down at a Thanksgiving tailgate to bug them for their entry fee. There are horror stories of some people who finish in the money in their league never getting their award because they never paid into the league. A good Commissioner will set a deadline. You should abide by it. I will give props to all the ECB guys who abide by our deadline. Even if they occasionally enjoy writing things on the entry fee check that earns the Commissioner some really creeped out glances from the bank teller.

2) Fantasy football ratings magazines are generally a waste of money
Just for the fun of it, look somewhere deep in the three-point font on the magazine's publication information. Often times these magazines are published in June, well before trades are made, injuries take place, and rookies show what they can actually do. The caveat is that these magazines may be useful if you're in a really deep league and have the 167th pick in the league and need to know who the 79th ranked RB in the league is. Just a public service announcement - if you're going to use the cheat sheets, make sure that the cheat sheet that you're using actually corresponds to the scoring method used by your league. Willie Parker may be ranked highly on some cheat sheets but if you're in a touchdown heavy league, he's pretty useless.

Every stereotype begins with a kernel of truth - here, your geeky fantasy football "experts"

3) Don't listen to Matthew Berry or Gene Wang
Matthew Berry is paid way too much money by ESPN to pontificate on his love/hate list every week. Gene Wang offers fantasy football advice in the Washington Post and in a weekly chat on For one, there are about 20 different ways to score fantasy, so good advice regarding a player can translate into horrible advice the way your league scores. Second, anybody who has played fantasy for more than a year knows that how much time you spend preparing each week is normally inversely proportional to how well you end up doing. In other words, you CAN overthink and overstudy in fantasy football. These guys are the kings of that. If you listen to these guys, you're likely in for a .500 fantasy season, at best.
4) Welcome to our league! Now please be quiet.
It's always fun to welcome a new manager into a fantasy league. Often times the manager is very valued for having filled a space left by somebody or for coming in at the last minute to give the league an even number of teams so that the league can play. It's fun to get to know the new manager and to see if they can keep pace with the shit talking that's been going on amongst the other managers for years. But new managers, know your role. Most fantasy football leagues are comprised of managers who have been in the same league for a really long time and who have been friends for an even longer time. Your invite represents an invitation to not just play this season, but to be in it for the long haul. If you work out. Let's just put it this way... you wouldn't go to a party with your girlfriend and immediately head over to the other guys who are hosting (who you don't know but who all know each other from way back) and then instruct them that they should have bought a keg of Bud Light instead of Miller Lite (and if you think Bud Light is better than Miller Lite, you're possibly a moron anyway). So don't do the same thing in your fantasy football league, suggesting rules changes in year one.
5) Don't veto a trade
This is always an issue at some point in every fantasy football league in every fantasy football season. Even if you're in first place and you're concerned that the trade will fill that deadly hole on that team in second place that's been keeping you them from catching you, don't veto it... unless, and ONLY UNLESS the trade is blatantly a result of some form of collusion by two managers, which doesn't frequently happen. The power of anonymity on online leagues leads people to veto trades because they know that realistically nobody will ever know their vote. Seriously, just don't be that person.
6) Don't abandon ship
Look, it could be mid-October and you could be in a position where you need to reel off seven straight wins to even sniff the playoffs in your league. Stick with your team. Mind the bye weeks and don't become a bye week yourself. If Week 7 comes along and your QB, RB, and DEF all score zero points because they're on bye, you've just given your opponent a victory by default, which could end up being very costly to another person in your league. People will remember if you jump ship and you won't be invited back. Suck it up. It's only fantasy. Hey, the Nationals are still playing baseball, right? The Lions still went out every Sunday even at 0-14 last year, right?
7) Commissioners, be nice to your league
Schedule your draft anytime before the third preseason game and you're going to have a really hard time getting people to commit to your league. Remarkably Yahoo allows for fantasy football drafts in mid-August, almost immediately after the first preseason game. This gives way too much time for torn ACLs, quarterback controversies, and Michael Vick to steal yardage away from your running back. Drafts should be scheduled as late as possible, and barring unavailability, almost always on the eve of, or just after, the final preseason game.
Have fun this fantasy football season, and be safe, kids.

August 11, 2009

Extortion Is Easier than Being a Groupie

Let me summarize this story for you the best I can. Rick Pitino had sex with a woman while Pitino was drunk in a restaurant in Louisville. Yes, IN the restaurant. There is a witness. She claimed to be pregnant two short weeks later (which I'm fairly certain is impossible). Pitino gave her $3000 for an abortion (which I'm fairly certain is at least three times more than one costs). She then married Pitino's strength coach while trying to extort cars, college money for her kids (!?!) and $10M from his boss. The FBI caught on. She cried rape. The Louisville DA declined to press the charges citing the prosecutorial discretion to ignore obvious bullshit.

The accuser/Federal defendant and lucky groom.

This is getting ridiculous. What ever happened to the good old days when a groupie would carry Shawn Kemp's Travis Henry's the father's child to term and THEN extort child support from him? Rape is a serious crime and I try not to base any judgments based on pieces of news reports, but between Pitino and Roethlisberger, this is getting ridiculous.

On the plus side, at least no one got shot this time.