Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NFL Wednesday Morning Thoughts: Week Eight

How Bout Dem Cowboys?
Flashback to when Dallas flew to Seattle to play in their preseason contest. A healthy, confident Tony Romo had his sights set on leading his Cowboys on another playoff run, maybe even win a Lombardi trophy in the process. This was how the story was supposed to go, that is, until a broken bone in Romo's back temporarily put those dreams on hold. 

Until Dak Prescott picked those dreams up and ran with them.

The rookie quarterback has lead Dallas to the NFC's best record at 6-1 amid adversity. If Dallas is truly "America's Team", Prescott has undoubtedly earned Captain America recognition. Alongside the best offensive line in football combined with the hottest back in the league (Ezekiel Elliott, you might want to look him up) the Cowboys offense has made tremendous strides since their week one loss against the New York Giants. Yet one of the few unappreciated factors that has gotten Dallas to this point is the performance on defense, something defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli deserves tremendous praise for. Let's not forget that two seasons ago, this unit was supposed to be a joke of historical proportions. 

Yet here we are, drinking coffee on a Wednesday morning following a key divisional win against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football. Dallas holds a two game lead over everyone else in the NFC East, and behind the power of Ezekiel Elliott's running, only look to grow the gap from this point moving forward. When Romo returns and who should start is another issue for another article, but it's hard to imagine any decision being the wrong one considering how the team is performing. 

Derek Carr: Quarterback, Raider, MVP? 
You know how every year, there's always hype around Oakland and they always seem to find a way to fluster? Don't look now, but those Raiders are actually fulfilling the prophecy thus far. A surprising 6-2 record in arguably the toughest division in football? I'll buy it. The wins haven't all been pretty, however they all count in the W/L column as a win, and that's damn pretty in itself. The team's success up to this point can largely be attributed to the play of Derek Carr, and the numbers don't lie. 2321 passing yards (ranked 5th), 17 touchdowns (ranked 3rd) to just 3 interceptions and a 100.9 passer rating.

The progression of Carr has been remarkable to watch since his first start in the league. For his family, it's what brother David Carr might have been. For Raider Nation, it's what Jamarcus Russell should have been. In all honesty, with the young slew of quarterback talent in the NFL (Winston, Mariota, Wentz, Prescott, etc.) it's hard to make a case for any of those listed to be above Carr. Derek's play has indeed led Oakland to new heights, and has officially given 2016 the "playoffs or bust" title. 

Another test awaits Carr and company as a Sunday Night Football match-up with fellow 6-2 team Denver will decide who controls the division, for now. Denver's defense remains one of the best in the league, and will provide a proven test for Oakland's offense. Even if a loss ensues for the Raiders, there's no doubting the impact of Derek Carr's presence on the field and what he does. With the help of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Carr has built quite the serious case for league MVP, something that hasn't been accomplished in Oakland since Rich Gannon was slinging the ball for the silver and black back in 2002. Should history repeat itself 14 years later, Oakland has to love the direction their third year signal-caller is taking them. 

Down With Thursday Night Football
With all the hubbub of NFL ratings looming over the almighty shield that Roger Goodell will protect and defend at all costs, I'd imagine a conversation in the league office goes something like this:

 "I wonder why viewership is down?"

"Hmm, I'm not sure. Hey I gotta cut this conversation short, the Jaguars/Titans game is about to start and I NEED to watch it". 

Thursday Night Football has long been a joke in the world of football, however in 2016, the sad excuse of a prime-time game is really trying to out-do itself. With games such as Titans/Jaguars, Bengals/Dolphins and Patriots/Texans have been shown on Thursday night, is it too much to wonder where the league is going wrong? These games are supposed to be marquee match-ups. To put an analogy to the picture, the league is essentially trying to throw something at a wall until it sticks. Unfortunately, it's a rare occasion where the game actually follows through on the "hype" built by the league. 

In all honesty, while the ratings are down, the league shouldn't be too worried. As long as fantasy football and money co-exist, and there's a player who's game is on Thursday night, people will watch.
However the product given to us as consumers on Thursday night's has been completely atrocious, and the league's slither of hope appears to rest on a Cowboys/Vikings matchup in December. Until then, fans are stuck watching week after week of intolerable football.

I don't pay for Thursday Night Football, but I sure as hell want my money back. 

It's Not You, It's Jamie
Everybody is still trying to decipher another one of Bill Belichick's "???" trades, yet this one might be the hardest of them all. News broke on Monday that New England will be shipping linebacker Jamie Collins, one of the Patriots better defensive players, to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a compensatory third round pick. 

After trading Chandler Jones to Arizona earlier this year, the thought was to create cap space to sign Collins, who was in the final year of his rookie contract, to a long-term deal. After this most recent deal with Cleveland, nobody can truly evaluate the motivation of Belichick's move. The only reasonable explanation is the Patriots have something tricky planned up their sleeve, and that makes me feel uncomfortable. Or perhaps Belichick is still wound-up over those pesky tablets and acted upon his ill feelings. 

In all seriousness, there are few signs to say what was truly the thought process behind the trade. The most favorable theory resides that Jamie asked for "Von Miller" money, and those obviously were the wrong words to blurt out at the negotiation table. 

As unconventional as this trade may seem, it may actually come to a win-win scenario. Cleveland now has a piece they can build around in their front seven, and New England now has more cap space to sign Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower or even bring in a free agent in the off-season. Time will tell if the Patriots are simply playing chess while we watch checkers, or if the Browns truly pulled the better end of the stick.

Number of the Week: 23
This is the amount of penalties called against the Oakland Raiders in last Sunday's contest against Tampa Bay, breaking the all-time record for most penalties for one team in a game. 

Quote of the Week: 
"Who’s No. 88?" Norman asked, referring to official Brad Freeman. "He sucked. I’ll be honest with you, he was terrible. I feel some of the plays going on out there, I mean, it was terrible. It’s just how I’m feeling and how the team feels right now. It needs to be watched and reprimanded. They reprimand us, so what’s the reprimand for them?"
 - A very fired up Josh Norman, after a game where the Redskins lock-down cornerback was flagged on multiple plays. 

Tweet of the Week: 

"Poor Jamie Collins. Going from the Patriots to the Browns would be like going from a Rolls-Royce to a toaster." -@AdamRank

Donnie Druin is an award-winning sports writer from the Arizona Newspaper Association. Follow him on Twitter @DonnieDruin to keep updated on every sport you love, or just to scold him for another poor choice of "Tweet of the Week" because you can't drive a toaster, stupid. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How the NBA is benefiting from Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick receives a bouquet of flowers with a note that reads "Colin, thank you for everything you've done for us. We appreciate your generosity.- Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner"

According to all (zero) of my sources, this probably never happened.

But it damn well should have.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Rise and Obsession of Fantasy Football

It's Week 16 in the National Football League, and there's three minutes left in the game. The kicker you own

Monday, August 29, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

NBA Free Agency Tracker

There's an old saying about basketball: "Ball don't sleep".

As of late, those words have come to fruition.
Within a span of twelve days, we've crowned a new champion, welcomed a new draft class, and have now started free agency. In the heart of baseball season and football season inching closer and closer, what fantastic scheduling for the NBA to keep basketball on the minds of people across the sports world. Not to mention, NBA Summer League starts July 2nd. 

However it's time for the circus of basketball: NBA Free Agency. You have the traditional clowns that shell money out to players who don't deserve it with teams jumping through hoops in hopes of landing their championship piece, all in the midst of chaos. 

Will Kevin Durant bolt and leave the Thunder? Is this the year LA and New York regain momentum as prime destinations? Who can jockey their team back into serious title talk? Every question deserves an answer, and the summer of 2016 will speak anytime now. 

NBA Free Agency is officially underway, and here's what you need to know:

  • The Salary Cap- For 2016, the cap for the league is at $94.1 million, a $24 million jump from last year's $70 million cap. This means teams like the Lakers, who have $60 million in cap space, could essentially sign two players to a max-deal. In comparison, a team like the Clippers, who have a mere $15 million in cap space, will struggle to lure any big name players worth those pennies.

  • When Can Deals Become Official?- Although Free Agency technically started at 12:01 AM eastern time on Friday, deals cannot become official until July 7. Although most times deals are verbally agreed and kept well before the deadline, it is important to note that a deal is not official until ink hits the dotted line (i.e. google search DeAndre Jordan during last year's free agency). 

  • What is a max deal?- "The maximum amount of money a player can sign for is based on the number of years that player has played and the total of the salary cap. The maximum salary of a player with 6 or fewer years of experience is either $9,000,000 or 25% of the total salary cap (2013–14: $14,670,000), whichever is greater. For a player with 7–9 years of experience, the maximum is $11,000,000 or 30% of the cap (2013–14: $17,603,700), and for a player with 10+ years of experience, the maximum is $14,000,000 or 35% of the cap (2013–2014: $20,537,650).[14] There is an exception to this rule: a player is able to sign a contract for 105% of his previous contract, even if the new contract is higher than the league limit." - Wikipedia 
  For this offseason, the max contract for a veteran of 10+ years will be starting at $30.8 million per year.

  • Players WILL be overpaid- Basketball money is ridiculous, and the contracts show it. Every year, there's always a handful of players that receive more money than the general managers of social media believe they should've gotten. Teams need to spend their money, and when you have an excess of cash with fewer options (let's just pick a random franchise: The Los Angeles Lakers) you're forced to pay more than other teams would. 

Signed Players:

These are players who have officially signed contracts with their respective clubs. Unsigned players and players with a current offer-sheet that can still be matched are not included. This list is organized by position, and followed by total dollar amount of contract.

Point Guards
Mike Conley- Memphis Grizzlies- 5 years, $153 million
Matthe Dellavedova- Milwaukee Bucks- 4 years, $38.4 million
Jeremy Lin- Brooklyn Nets- 3 years, $36 million
Austin Rivers- Los Angeles Clippers- 3 years, $35 million
D.J. Augustin- Orlando Magic- 4 years, $29 million
Rajon Rondo- Chicago Bulls- 2 years, $28 million
Jerryd Bayless- Philadelphia 76ers- 3 years, $27 million 
Ish Smith- Detroit Pistons- 3 years, $18 million
Ramon Sessions- Charlotte Hornets- 2 years, $12.5 million
Deron Williams- Dallas Mavericks- 1 year, $10 million
Langston Galloway- New Orleans Pelicans- 2 year, $10 million
Seth Curry- Dallas Mavericks- 2 years, $6 million
Brandon Jennings- New York Knicks- 1 year, $5 million

Shooting Guards
Demar Derozan- Toronto Rapters- 5 years, $139 million
Bradley Beal- Washington Wizards- 5 years, $128 million
Evan Fournier- Orlando Magic- 5 years, $85 million
Allen Crabbe- Portland Trail Blazers- 4 years, $75 million
Kent Bazemore- Atlanta Hawks- 4 years, $70 million
Eric Gordon- Houston Rockets- 4 year, $53 million
Jordan Clarkson- Los Angeles Lakers- 4 years, $50 million
Tyler Johnson- Miami Heat- 4 years, $50 million
Courtney Lee- New York Knicks- 4 years, $48 million
Dwayne Wade- Chicago Bulls- 2 years, $47.5 million
Jamal Crawford- Los Angeles Clippers- 3 years, $42 million
Arron Afflalo- Sacremento Kings- 2 years, $25 million
Joe Johnson- Utah Jazz- 2 years, $22 million
Gerald Henderson- Philadelphia 76ers- 2 years, $18 million
Manu Ginobili- San Antonio Spurs- 1 year, $14 million Leandro Barbosa- Phoenix Suns- 2 years, $8 million

Small Forwards 
Nicolas Batum- Charlotte Hornets- 5 years, $120 million
Lebron James- Cleveland Cavaliers- 3 years, $100 million
Chandler Parsons- Memphis Grizzlies- 4 years, $94 million
Harrison Barnes- Dallas Mavericks- 4 years, $94 million
Luol Deng- Los Angeles Lakers- 4 years, $72 million
Evan Turner- Portland Trail Blazers- 4 years, $70 million
Marvin Williams- Charlotte Hornets- 4 years, $54.5 million
Kevin Durant- Golden State Warriors- 2 years, $54 million
Solomon Hill- New Orleans Pelicans- 4 years, $52 million 
Jared Dudley- Phoenix Suns- 3 year, $30 million
Wesley Johnson- Los Angeles Clippers- 3 years, $18 million
Festus Ezeli- Portland Trail Blazers- 2 years, $15 million
Jeff Green- Orlando Magic- 1 year, $15 million
Matt Barnes- Sacramento Kings- 2 years, $12 million
Richard Jefferson- Cleveland Cavaliers- 2 years, $5 million

Power Forwards
Ryan Anderson- Houston Rockets- 4 years, $80 million
Jon Leuer- Detroit Pistons- 4 years, $42 million
Meyers Leonard- Portland Trail Blazers- 4 years, $41 million
Dirk Nowitzki- Dallas Mavericks- 2 years, $40 million
Dwight Powell- Dallas Mavericks- 4 years, $37 million
Pau Gasol- San Antonio Spurs- 2 years, $30+ million 
Mirza Teletovic- Milwaukee Bucks- 3 years, $30 million
Darrell Arthur- Denver Nuggets- 3 years, $23 million
Trevor Booker- Brooklyn Nets- 2 years, $18 million
Jason Smith- Washington Wizards- 3 years, $16 million
Jared Sullinger- Toronto Rapters- 1 year, $6 million
Derrick Williams- Miami Heat- 1 year, $5 million
David West- Golden State Warriors- 1 year, $1.29 million
James McAdoo- Golden State Warriors- 1 year, $980,000

Andre Drummond- Detroit Pistons- 5 years, $130 million
Al Horford- Boston Celtics- 4 years, $113 million
Hassan Whiteside- Miami Heat- 4 years, $98 million
Joakim Noah- New York Knicks- 4 years, $72 million
Dwight Howard- Atlanta Hawks- 3 years, $70.5 million
Bismack Biyombo- Orlando Magic- 4 years, $70 million
Ian Mahinmi- Washington Wizards- 4 years, $64 million
Timofey Mozgov- Los Angeles Lakers- 4 years, $64 million
Al Jefferson- Indiana Pacers- 3 years, $30 million
Cole Aldrich- Minnesota Timberwolves- 3 years, $22 million
Boban Marjanovic- Detroit Pistons- 3 years, $21 million
Jordan Hill- Minnesota Timberwolves- 2 years, $8 million Roy Hibbert- Charlotte Hornets- 1 year, $5 million
Nene- Houston Rockets- 1 year, $2.9 million
Zaza Pachulia- Golden State Warriors- $2.9 million
Marreese Speights- Los Angeles Clippers- $1.4 million

Friday, June 24, 2016

2016 NBA Draft Recap

Just four days removed from a Lebron James block that led Cleveland back to the promise land, the NBA Draft took center stage on Thursday night.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft


Similar to last year, the 2016 NFL Draft opens
up between a debate of two quarterbacks to be chosen number one overall, this time between Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Interestingly enough, this draft could be vastly different had the Titans (who held the #1 pick before trading to LA) and Cleveland (held the #2 pick before trading with Philadelphia) stayed at their original spots. Although the draft takes place in the spring, 2016 has been dubbed the draft of the fall. Numerous players have questions regarding their health, off the field issues, or even both. Will Myles Jack's knee cause him to plummet down the boards? Will the character issues haunt Robert Nkemdiche come Thursday?  Teams have spent the past four months evaluating everything to know about their potential suitors, from the mechanics in their footwork, all the way up to what they would be caught doing on a Friday night. If a team is sold on a prospect, they won't be afraid to take the jump and trade up. Whispers around the league suggest Miami could do-so for Ezekiel Elliot, others peg the Jets to trade up to snag Paxton Lynch. One trade is easily capable of shaking the entire draft, but so is one pick. The draft is where teams can completely turnaround their franchise, and at the same time, teams free-fall into mediocrity  Once the commissioner steps foot on the stage, all the rumors, smoke screens, mock drafts, predictions, interviews and everything else will be pushed to the side- for the circus known as the NFL Draft will begin.

And with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select...

  1. Los Angeles Rams-   Jared Goff, QB, Cal 
  2.  Philadelphia Eagles-   Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
  3.  San Diego Chargers-   Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
  4.  Dallas Cowboys-   Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
  5.  Jacksonville Jaguars-   Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
  6.  Baltimore Ravens-   Leramy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
  7.  San Francisco 49ers-   DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
  8.  Cleveland Browns-   Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
  9.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers-   Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
  10.  New York Giants-    Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
  11.  Chicago Bears-    Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
  12.  New Orleans Saints-    Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
  13.  Miami Dolphins-   Vernon Hargreaves, DB, Florida
  14.  Oakland Raiders-    Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
  15.  Tennessee Titans-    Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
  16.  Detroit Lions-   Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
  17.  Atlanta Falcons-   Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
  18.  Indianapolis Colts-   Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
  19.  Buffalo Bills-    Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
  20.  New York Jets-    Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis 
  21.  Washington Redskins-   Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
  22.  Houston Texans-    Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
  23.  Minnesota Vikings-    Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  24.  Cincinnati Bengals-    Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
  25.  Pittsburgh Steelers-    William Jackson III, DB, Houston
  26.  Seattle Seahawks-    Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
  27.  Green Bay Packers-    A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
  28.  Kansas City Chiefs-    Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
  29.  Arizona Cardinals-    Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
  30.  Carolina Panthers-    Eli Apple, DB, Ohio State
  31.  Denver Broncos-      Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Four More Quarters

All good things must come to an end. 

This day was never supposed to come.

Monday, January 11, 2016

CFP National Championship Preview

Who: (1) Clemson Tigers vs (2) Alabama Crimson Tide
When: January 11th, 8:30 PM Eastern Time
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Channel: ESPN

On Monday, all the marbles will be poured into University of Phoenix Stadium for