Monday, April 30, 2007
My stand is slightly stronger: I am going to issue something called the Gonzalez challenge. I challenge Randy Moss to double the production of the Colts' third wide receiver, rookie Anthony Gonzalez. Moss is supposedly is going to be the Pats #1 reciever, and as some sites are now predicting a sure-fire Hall of Famer, so he should have no problem gaining twice the yards, catches, and scores of a rookie wide receiver who may not play much in his first season.
To give you a point of reference: Ben Utecht was the Colts third most productive passing option (non-RB) in 2006 and ended up with 37 catches for 377 yards and no scores. Doubling these numbers should be a breeze. If Randy passes this simple test I will concede the season to the Pats, as ESPN already has. Personally I'd still rather have Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, call me crazy.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
1 Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio St.) WR and 2 Tony Ugoh (Arkansas) OT (we covered them earlier)
3 Daymeion Hughes (California) CB Apparently a play maker who might be a step slow, but is a perfect cover 2 corner
3 Quinn Pitcock (Ohio St.) DT Fast first step, perfect for a defense where the tackles don't have gap control (like the Colts. The LBs have gap control, unless they are named Gilbert Gardner)
4 Brannon Condren (Troy St.) S Hard working over achiever
4 Clint Sessions (Pittsburgh) OLB Possible potential at SSLB
5 Roy Hall (Ohio St.) WR Big guy, 232 lbs. Projects as a possible TE or receiving H-back. He could be the replacement for Dom Rhodes
5 Michael Coe (Alabama St.) CB The Colts love to draft DBs (3 this draft) and here's one more with good size and skills who lacks great speed. Sounds like a cover 2 corner.
7 Keyunta Dawson (Texas Tech) DE Great size and speed. Can play inside or out in a rotation.
Basically, the Colts first 2 picks were depth and future oriented, while adding value right now. I think most fans would have liked to see the Colts take a LB, but they don't seem to realize that the Colts don't value LBs. They just take whoever they find, make them a star, and let someone else pay them big money in 5 seasons.
All in all, we have no idea if this is a good draft or not. We at 18to88.com trust Bill Polian completely. Realistically, they need to hit on at least 2 of the other picks and it will be considered a strong draft. Not all these guys will make it in the league, but that's normal. Don't forget the Colts will also be adding undrafted free agents. This is NOT A SMALL THING. Gary Bracket and Dom Rhodes were both UDFA. I'm pretty sure Terrance (Little T) Wilkins was too originally.
All in all, we grade this draft an A, because why not? Plus, it could be worse, we could have traded for Randy Moss.
And the desperation continues for the three-time world champs. . .
The Patriots have traded their fourth round pick for 30 year-old, former superstar Randy Moss. Going into his tenth season Moss has averaged 50 catches over his last three seasons while struggling with injuries. How far has Moss fallen? A fourth round pick? That says it all. Unfortunately, Moss's contract is gigantic. As part of a trade, Moss would restructure and perhaps even extend his current contract, which calls for base salaries of $9.75 million in 2007 and $11.25 million in 2008.
This morning guys at ESPN continued the "New England is having the greatest off-season ever" hype with all five analysts on screen penciling them in as Super Bowl Champions next season.
Here's a list of New England's recent veteran acquisitions:
1. Sammy Morris RB: Age 30
2. Donte Stallworth WR: Age 26
3. Kelly Washington WR: Age 27
4. Kyle Brady TE: Age 35
5. Randy Moss WR: Age 30
6. Adalius Thomas LB: Age 30
7. Wes Welker WR: Age 25
Average age: 29 The Patriots better win it all this season like everyone and their mom will predict, because going forward they have added a lot of mileage to a roster that was already one of the NFL's oldest.
Deshawn Zombie Comments: I am absolutely giddy over this news. New England has finally jumped the shark. Randy Moss ISN'T ANY GOOD ANY MORE. He's toxic and will suck royally in NE destroying the fabric of their offense. Best of all, when Brady has another season exactly like every other season he's ever had, people will finally shut up about him not having receivers. This move says that the Pats are betting the house on this year because their window is closing. This will be Brady's last trip to the playoffs for a long time. This is the BEST news a Colts fan could hope for.
Remember that Randy Moss is NOT the Randy Moss of 8 years ago that was young, healthy, played in a dome, and had the whole offense built around him. This move is way more "Redskinesque" than Patriots-like. NE has to complete restructure their offense now that they have 2 deep WR and lost Daniel Graham at TE. Brady is a west-coast O QB. This is going to be a disaster.
If you want an objective opinion about this check out this article by (who else) the footballoutsiders.
They are more optimistic about Moss than I am, but still agree that this is not the slam dunk 1600 yards and 15 TDs that some bean eaters are envisioning.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
In short, it seems that Branch is lazy and Posluszny is slow. There are still tons of picks left for defense.
Demond Sanders comments: Polian is hilarious. I loved his comments in the Indianapolis Star about the first round drama. "From (pick number) 20 on in, we were engaged. From about 28 on, we were sweating. Anthony Gonzalez was the last name on the board,'' Polian said. "We got him and that's what counts.'' Right, Bill. No one else was going to take that dude. You were sweating? You could have been playing badminton in your war room and it would not have mattered. That said, all we have to do is watch the youtube clip below to get psyched up about next year.
To further confuse the issue, the Colts have RE-SIGNED AARON MOOREHEAD. Actually, this kind of makes sense because Moorehead himself has said he is not comfortable as a slot receiver. Last year the Colts were often forced to play Reggie Wayne or Dallas Clark in the slot if they wanted to use a 3 WR set. Moorehead provides depth for Marvin and Reggie, but is probably not a long-term solution as a starter in the slot. This means the Aaron Moorehead show on ESPN950 is back on for another year! Actually he's a pretty insightful guy considering his limited playing time; and he seems like a good locker-room guy.
Well folks, we talked about it just days ago and it happened. The Colts took a wideout with their first round pick. I suppose the attitude is that our offense writes the checks for the team, so you have to make a deposit. We haven't drafted a WR since Reggie Wayne. I fear this means that we are only 3 years away from saying good bye to #88. I hope it isn't so, but he'll be 37 and making a crap load of money. It took Reggie Wayne 3 years to develop as a real #1. Gonzalez now has the luxury to develop slowly.
This also makes our offense utterly unstoppable and allows Dallas Clark to line up as a TE where he can do the most damage. I predict that all the rest of the picks will be spent on defense.
Of course, no sooner do I type that than the Colts trade up in order to draft an OT from Arkansas. This definitely has to be a signal that the Terrik Glenn era is coming to end after this year. They gave up a 4th round pick this year (they had 3) and a first rounder next year. This trade will anger some Colts fans, but it makes sense. They gave up the 30-32nd pick next year for the 42nd pick this year. If Ugoh becomes a solid starting lineman, it's a great deal. If he doesn't, then it's bad. Basically, it gives them support at the all important tackle position without costing this year's draft. Not a bad idea.
Demond Sanders comments: Yeah, so I was one of the fans who "lost it" when hearing we gave up a first rounder next year for this guy. But, as usual, after a few minutes I quickly remember that Polian knows what he's doing - that goes for drafting Gonzalez as well. If all goes well the Colts will have only given up the 32nd pick in next year's draft and a fourth rounder this year. And from the few highlights they showed of Ugoh, he looks like a beast who moves people around in the running game. If anyone saw Arkansas play last year they saw how aggressive that offense was.
Remember: the Colts have seven more picks in this draft (gotta love the compensatory picks). As we said this past week - the team starts with the offense and goes from there. Protect Peyton, give him weapons, and run the football. I think the offense is set now (I can't think of any holes left except maybe backup RB or FB) so Polian and company can commence trying to fix the run defense. Good luck guys!
Also, note that all three of the Colts rivals in the AFC South drafted defensive players despite the fact that all three have major needs on offense. Maybe this is just the way it shook out, but it seems like the Colts have the division spooked.
Brady Quinn to Cleveland is interesting. Most of the sites I trust tend to rate him above Russel. This is potentially a huge move for Cleveland, but the question is the price. If Cleveland has a terrible year this year, and they will because 1. they suck and 2. they play in probably the toughest division in the NFL and 3. their QB will either be a rookie or Channing Frye, then they will be giving up a potential top 5 pick next year. If Cleveland has some kind of miracle season, then this will prove to be a great deal. Given the fact that Bill Polian claimed there were only 18 first round quality players, this could prove to be an amazing move for Dallas.
Cleveland GM Phil Savage may have made a great trade, but he does not come off well in interviews. He said, "Honestly, I think our first round pick next year was attractive to teams because they don't think we'll be very good." He also commented, "Selfishly, I'm tired of scouting, so now without a first round pick next year I won't have to scout". WHAT??? Suddenly, I'm seriously questioning the Browns. But that's par for the course.
Kudos to Mel Kiper Jr. who did correctly pick the first 7 players in the draft and 9 overall. Pretty impressive job.
Well, duh, Bob. This is the column you should have written last week. He's like the Clarence Verdin of columnists. You never know which way he's going to go, but you can almost bet it won't be forward.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Over the course of the last several years a trend toward negativity and shouting has been on the rise in the media. In large part, this is due to the fact that with more media choices than ever, many think the only way to be heard is to yell. Oddly enough, an increase in options had led to a decrease in the overall quality of information that most of us can get. There is more pressure than ever on the primary sources of sports news (the networks and ESPN) to go for flash instead of substance, because the suits figure that understated analytical commentary won't hold the viewers interest when pitted against no talent ass clowns like Terry Bradshaw yelling about everything in sight. I call this the "Roman Commentary" after chief idiot in charge, Jim Rome.
Couple this with fact that New England has become the center of the sports opinion world. ESPN's location in Connecticut has led them give extra attention to the Boston teams of the Patriots and Red Sox. They even hired a local blogger and made him a star. Now, look, I love ESPN, and I'm a Bill Simmons fan, but they have helped to spread the 'Boston' culture all over the States. What is the Boston culture?
Hating your rival and tearing them down at every chance.
Boston fans HATE the Yankees and ironically refer to them as 'the Evil Empire'. They hate ARod because he plays for the Yankees. Fans in Boston are more smug, more hateful, and less civil than fans in almost any other part of the country. They have also exported the "Choker Philosophy".
The "Choker Philosophy" was born out of the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl at the same time the Colts rose to power combined with a general cultural shift toward less thoughtful analysis and more mindless name calling. It has imbued and polluted every area of sports now. Fans in Boston resented the fact that Peyton Manning got more press than Tom Brady. They (quite wrongly) asserted that if Brady won Super Bowls and Manning didn't, Brady MUST be better. They were shallow and stupid and ignored any of the dozens of real reasons the Patriots won such as brilliant coaching, a brutally tough D, an amazing kicker, and a lot of luck. Brady is a great QB in his way, but he's not Manning and never will be. They couldn't accept that, so the denigrated him. They called him a choker, a loser, stat boy, and (gasp) Marino.
Bear in mind that when Marino was playing, no one called him these names. He was understood to be the best, or at least one of the 3 best along with Montana and Elway. He wasn't vilified and questioned at every turn. When he played, the media didn't continually crucify him. But now, his name is an insult. Now, everyone mocks him when he appears at the Super Bowl. Now, the Dilfers and Johnsons of the world are somehow more complete players. Why? The Bostonization of sports.
When the Patriots started to win, they made the Red Sox look bad. Then the Sox won. Boston was on top of the world, and they wanted everyone to know it. Only players who won championships were great; guys who didn't were losers. There was no need to debate who the best QBs were. One only had to rank them in terms of Super Bowls. If one QB had more rings than another, he must be better. This was the ONLY way to elevate Tom Brady above not just Manning, but Elway, Unitas, Griese, and any of a number of other Hall of Famers.
Guys like ARod and Manning got killed every time their team lost a playoff game, whether or not it was their fault. Manning played very well in Colts/Steelers game 2 years ago. He almost single handedly pulled them from the grave. But when Vanderjagt yanked the kick, Manning was the choker. ARod single handedly won a postseason series for the Yankees against Minnesota a few year back, but then he struggled in the ALCS, so he's a choker.
In Baseball, winning or not winning a title was NEVER the standard. The all time greats like Williams or Banks that never won titles were not viewed as failures. But now, the Boston minds have decided to kill the most brilliant player alive (Alex Rodriguez) because he doesn't play for the Red Sox. So what do they use? They can't use facts or stats or analysis. They use name calling. ARod is a choker. Just like that bum, Manning. They can't win the big one.
Peyton had it right when he refused to play this game by 'celebrating' the monkey off his back. He recognized that the entire discussion was stupid and didn't want to validate it. Manning and ARod are two of the greatest players in the history of their sports. We shouldn't let the Beantown Whiners destroy our enjoyment of their exploits. Boston fans started the culture of hate in sports, and yet Bill Simmons wrote a column with a surprised tone last fall called "We Hate Everything" in which he was shocked that people hate the Patriots. People hate the Pats because Pats fans hate everyone. They were too smug, too irrational, too ungracious. They chose to rip Manning rather than celebrate their team. They worship Brady, fine. But it wasn't enough. They had to kill Manning at the same time. Their mistake was they bet against the wrong horse. By the time all is said and done, Brady will be remembered as a fine qb, but they'll say, "He was no Manning" and he'll look the less for it. That comparison should never have been made, but they begged for it confident in their hatred. Now the tide has turned, and they act shocked that no one likes their team or them.
I'm glad for media options. I like ESPN. I like Bill Simmons. But together, they have all worked against decency and reason in sports. They tear down heroes rather than build them. They mock the defeated rather than respect their efforts. Sure, Manning's off the hook-he's a 'winner' now. ARod's still on it, but his performance is teaching us all over again how great he really is and and always has been.
So yes, we make fun of Brady and the Pats here. And yes, we think that Brady is classically overrated and gets way too much credit for other people's hard work. But that's not his fault. He'll never win another Super Bowl, but that doesn't mean 'he's lost it'. It won't be any more his fault when they don't win than it was when they did. We won't be calling him a choker or a loser (not seriously anyway).
We reject the Bostonization of sports.
Of the sports stars I've watched over the years, only Vanderjagt was consistently bad in big moments, and even he hit some amazing 50+ yard Fgs to win games. On any given day, someone is going to be the hero and someone will be the goat. There's no point in labeling or killing guys for it.
We reject the "Choker Philosophy".
If you don't have something to say that is either a. smart or b. funny, shut the hell up. If you can't get people's attention without being outrageous, then you don't deserve to be heard.
We reject "Roman Commentary".
Tyrone Poole is looking to get back into the NFL for one more season and:
"Poole, 35, feels he can fill the No. 4 cornerback role on some team's roster and his preference would be to sign with Indianapolis, where he would serve as a mentor to young corners Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden and Tim Jennings".
I suppose that in that capacity it might makes sense, but he was one of the worst on field Colts ever, and one of Polian's few mistakes. The thought of him getting burnt in a Colts uniform disturbs me greatly. I hope we haven't been reduced to this.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I'm going to throw out a name: Dwayne Jarrett out of USC. Once projected to go in the first fifteen picks, his so-so workout for scouts has his stock falling, possibly a late round one or even round two pick. He's 6' 5" and catches everything that you throw at him. He's the all-time PAC-10 leader in touchdown receptions. Peyton would find a way to get this guy 10 scores every year.
That said, here's all the reason why we know the Colts shouldn't do this:
1. It can take up to three years to develop a wide receiver. Why not just pay to re-sign Moorehead, who is just about to become useful?
2. The Colts defense was historically bad last year.
3. They already have the two best WRs in the league. Besides, they did fine without Brandon Stokely or any type of reliable third receiver last year.
4. WRs in the first round don't have a great history. . . why not just steal one in the third or fourth round?
Deshawn Zombie's comments: I don't think a WR is a bad idea. The Football Outsider stats this week showed that the first round IS the best time to get a productive wideout. The problem is that it takes WRs 2 to 3 years to develop. Many people questioned whether Reggie Wayne was a bit of a bust after his rookie year, and now he is elite. I think that a lot of wideouts would perform better if they were given time to learn an offense. If Jarrett makes it to pick 32, you HAVE to take him.
Demond Sanders comments: Just wait until the Atlanta Hawks use the 11th pick in the draft (you know the one the Pacers gave them in exchange for Al Harrington) on local favorite, all-world point guard, Mike Conley Junior. I hope this happens if only to see how quickly fan apathy can turn into violent rage.
Right away, you'll notice that these six teams represent 4 elite franchises and 2 bottom feeders. This shouldn't be surprising. Most teams use the same scouts so they get lumped to the middle. The other six either do better than the scouting service or worse. So if we were to grade out the six teams that don't use the common scouting service what would we find? If we use the grades handed out by Cold Hard Football Facts...
We would find: Indianapolis A+, Baltimore A, New England A-, Oakland D, Chicago got a B-but that grade was actually an D- for the first round (when execs and coaches most flex their muscles) and an A+ for all subsequent rounds, and Washington got a C- with the comment, "They have generally had a good eye for talent, but their strategy just doesn’t seem to be working". That is to say their scouts aren't the problem, their front office is.
This would seem to validate the opinion that having an independent scouting system leads generally to better drafting. The Bears and Skins problem is not talent evaluation, but rather poor front office decisions. Oakland, well they are a mess on all levels.
So remember folks, the losers you hear yapping all weekend are all working off the same play book as MOST NFL teams, but NOT the BEST NFL teams, and that means they don't know crap about what the Colts should do.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
TMQ is a favorite column of ours, and is usually funny take on conventional wisdom in the NFL. Take a look at his mocking of mock drafts, and then read our funnier version, written earlier this month here.
I'd think he was biting our style, but then I remember our site has about six readers and two of them happened upon us while googling "horse breeding."
Monday, April 23, 2007
1. I don't like college football, so I don't know the players-Look, I'm an IU fan. That is to say, college football makes me sick. I root passively for the Irish. I just don't enjoy the college game. Once I started going to NFL games, the NCAA totally started to bore me. I have no attachment to these guys.
2. There is no such thing a draft 'expert' - To quote Bill Tobin, "Who the hell is Mel Kiper Jr?" All the idiots you see pontificating on who was a good pick and who wasn't are NOT NFL scouts or GMs. The ones who were...AREN'T ANYMORE FOR A REASON. Remember all the morons who KILLED the Colts for drafting Freeney at 12? What about Peter King who declared, "This is a dark day for the Colts franchise!" after Polian selected Edge over Ricky Williams. These are FIRST ROUND PICKS that the experts jacked up on. And it happens all the time. Forget any cogent commentary on the 2nd-seventh rounds. These guys can't get the 'easy' ones right.
3. Bad teams fans get stupidly excited - Look, unless you just had a total regime change (like Polian coming in in 1998), if your team sucked last year, it'll suck this year. If your team couldn't draft well for the past 5 seasons (yeah, I mean you Detroit and Cleveland), THEY WON'T DRAFT WELL THIS YEAR EITHER.
4. There is no voice of reason - Because the entire day is a big media vomit party, there isn't anyone who says, "Well, Team X has a great coaching staff, so even though some of these players have work to do, it's way to early to tell whether this draft was good or bad. We'll have to wait a couple of years to find out".
5. One of the most important parts of the weekend isn't even covered - Signing undrafted free agents is just about as important as the 6th and 7th rounds. The truth is, Tom Brady aside, the last couple rounds don't actually produce that many players. A couple of guys a year hang on from the bottom, but not that many.
6. Nothing actually happens - Look, at the end of the day, the draft is basically like watching sports talk radio all day. It's just people sitting around flapping their gums excitedly. Give me weekend baseball ANY DAY.
Demond Sanders comments: I have a slightly different view of the draft. First of all you have to know what to watch. Round 1 lasts forever and the Colts draft at the very end. If you can get away with it (married guys know what I am talking about) go ahead and watch the whole thing. Sure, the experts are wrong more than half the time. Sure, there's no actual football being played, but its a football-like environment and that's a good thing. I watch a ton of college football and I still have no idea who 99% of these players are, but after all the predraft coverage you pretty much know the first round guys. Beyond the first round it gets pretty lame, I'll usually watch the second and third round picks for the Colts, but that's about it.
The Colts first round pick last year is a great example of why the draft is entertaining. The Colts had to have a running back. The whole league knew this. I was losing it as Laurence Maroney and DeAngelo Williams went off the board right in front of the Colts. It made me hate the Patriots all the more that they took the guy Colts fans had penciled in to replace #32. Joseph Addai? Sure his name was mentioned, but most people had him as a second round guy. He barely played at LSU, sharing time with several other backs. Of course five to ten minutes after the pick I was already in damage control mode. "Polian knows what he's doing. This kid is probably going to be a good player." Little did I know he was going to lead the Colts to XLI.
It sucks that Bush gets to wear a Colts jersey with his name on the back, but if I do it, I'm a loser. Adults with their own name on the back are quite quite lame (unless you happen to be named Phil Manning-lucky bastard).
Also, just an FYI, but if you are a regular visitor to the blog, but skip the main page over at 18to88.com, make sure you check out some of the new articles and features including a list of the Greatest Games and Worst Losses in Colts History. This site is dedicated to true Colts fans, not just new ones. If you are an old timer with the Horseshoe, we'd love to hear from you about any old Colts or great games. Feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd say this site is for you, the fans, but I'd be lying. It's for us. US, DAMN IT! But anyway, we still want to hear your stories of the Colts. We'll try to post as many as we can.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
In it, Bob makes the same old lame argument that the Colts should have made more free agency moves and that they should be afraid because New England has 'reloaded'. Our analysis of this situation has been consistent and clear from the beginning:
Bob is an idiot.
That's been well established. Has anyone bothered to realize that for 16 games, the defense was horrible last year? They are losing players off of a BAD defense. Teams are paying those guys crazy money because they won rings given to them by Peyton, Marvin and the offense. KC Joyner of ESPN rated Jason David the WORST regular corner in the NFL just 2 years ago. The footballoutsiders.com have been savaging Cato June for a long time now. These guys may have been nice, but they really weren't any good at what they did. Much like Kravitz. Can someone sign him away please??? We've been addressing it for months; go back and check out the previous posts (especially in MARCH, when most people were talking about this stuff). Polian is so much smarter than Kravitz, it's a wonder they are of the same species. Most of the Colts defenders are just a bunch of interchangeable parts. This D lives or dies on the defensive ends getting pressure, and the safeties supporting the run. Corners and Linebackers make for sexy free agents, but in this system they are a WASTE OF MONEY. The Colts D will live or die this year based on Freeney, Mathis, Bob Sanders and Bethea.
Kravitz wants to know who will be ready to fill Cato June's old role? What role was that? Getting steamrolled by running backs? Missing tackles? Running off the field celebrating while the Patriots recover a fumble in the end zone? I don't know Bob, but I'm guessing they can find someone. If these guys were good, they wouldn't have been among the last players taken in free agency. Teams waited, and waited, and waited before signing Colts defenders. The Colts practically begged to lose their guys because they know they'll get better compensatory picks in the draft next year.
And friends. . . the draft is where you win or lose championships. New England has forgotten this, and they will come to regret it.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
If you've ever wondered how football morphed into the game it is today you should read this article. Really cool stuff that may actually make you a better fan. I recently saw an old movie on TCM about this Carlisle team with Burt Lancaster as Jim Thorpe, but the true story is far more exciting. Also, I am formally requesting that Terrence Wilkins run "The Hunchback" next year against the Jaguars.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The exodus continues for the Super Bowl champions. This is why the Colts are consistently one of the two or three youngest teams in the league in terms of average roster age. It looks like once again this team is going to Peyton, Marvin, and a bunch of 22 year old kids.
I think the league needs to make the salary cap more flexible to protect teams that want to keep their superstars AND their role players. Perhaps make a rule that you get one player per team that doesn't count fully against the cap. Your highest paid player's salary would count only 60% against the cap. This wouldn't affect most teams very much. But it would make a world of difference to the handful of teams who have a Michael Vick, LT or Carson Palmer. Call it the Manning rule. This rule would not completely close the spending gap (because every team would get one player to protect), but it would help signficantly and it would reduce the need for the constant re-working of the your star's contract. It is ridiculous that Peyton has to spend 3/4 of his career on a team that can't field a defense because they have the audacity to pay the best player in the league the most money. The Colts found these players, the Colts drafted them, the Colts developed them, but another team gets to benefit from all that hard work.
Bill Polian may need to draft the Justice League to keep the Colts in contention. In all seriousness this hurts, but the sky is not falling. No one is going to mistake Nick Harper or Jason David for the Flash. They are good but not spectacular players who will likely not fare as well elsewhere. Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden should be able to step in and do fine, but CB depth is now officially an issue the team will need to address at the draft next week.
Indianapolis will have seven days, when the offer sheet is officially filed with the league office, to act on it. If the Colts match the offer sheet, they essentially assume the four-year deal that the Saints negotiated. Should the Colts decline to match the offer sheet, they will receive a fourth-round choice in this year's draft as compensation.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Really strange list. Vince Young is featured despite his team failing to make the playoffs. I love when the media throws out the line "Numbers don't properly reflect his impact on the game." Yeah, the guy made some big plays with his feet, but you can't ignore the fact that he threw more picks than touchdowns, and fumbled 12 times. As Merrill Hoge recently pointed out, Travis Henry was the real difference maker on the Titans in 2006.
I guess I wouldn't argue Young's place on this list if they had bothered to include Joseph Addai. He had over 1000 yards rushing in the regular season (averaging 4.5 yds per carry), he racked up 22 receptions in the playoffs alone (leading the field), and most importantly Addai was arguably the deciding factor in a championship run.
Monday, April 16, 2007
This would take care of two problems:
1) The Indiana Pacers
2) We would never again have to hear Baltimore fans whine about how we stole their team 25 years ago. (Wishful thinking)
THIS JUST IN: An anonymous source informs me that Jason Whitlock of the KC Star was on Oprah today weighing in further about Imus.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Players all over baseball wore number 42, the only universally retired number, in honor of a great man who left this world too soon, because as the author of Hebrews says, "the world was not worthy of him". Check out this excellent discussion from ESPN, The Magazine (presented by ESPN, The Network) with some of the game's leading African-American players:
Thank you, Jackie. Thank you, Mr. Rickey.
In the spirit of not just talking but doing, check out the Master's Academy in inner city Chicago. It's an amazing endeavour to try and help kids whose life circumstances conspire against them, to receive the education that they need. Consider giving a gift in Jackie's memory.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Are these for real? Who knows?
The ebay member bullshui (based out of China) has some absolutely insane deals. 2 Super Bowl jerseys for $75 bucks (less than the cost of 1 jersey at retail price). Yeah, his jerseys may not be legit, but mine sure looks and feels real (it has all the reebok tags, holograms, and patches so there's really no way of knowing for certain).
2. Colts Super Bowl Bobbleheads. These are available on ebay and elsewhere. There are ten of them in total. Although one of those is the mascot, Blue. On a side note does it bother anyone else that Blue gets commemorated like he's been around forever? He's a total band-wagon punk. You can get the whole set for around $100 or a little more.
3. The SI championship package. I swore to myself that if a team I rooted for ever won a championship I was going to order the "official SI package" that you get when you subscribe to SI. Totally not worth it, but when you've been making the same promise for 17 years you kind of feel obliagated to go through with it. $99 gets you the NFL films DVD, the comemmorative book, the championship football, and a year of SI. Actually I guess its not that bad of a deal if you like SI. I've never been a big fan, but its a decent read.
4. The NFL films DVD: I had to go to Target to buy this because SI took forever in getting this to me. It is a game by game review of the season. The disc spends about two minutes on each game. Each playoff game gets about five minutes with the Super Bowl getting about ten minutes dedicated to it. Obviously it is a must own for the unique camera work and sound bytes, but overall it is a bit underwhelming. Apparently NFL films releases an ultimate edition with much more coverage later on in the year, at least thats what they did with SB XL.
5. Other things I have purchased or talked about purchasing: Super Bowl pennants, Super Bowl hats, Super Bowl bibs, Indianapolis Star special editions, Super Bowl replica rings (we hope to own one of these some day), copies of SI from all the playoffs games.
6. The absolute best Super Bowl gear: The broadcasts themselves on DVD. If these Colts games are anything like the 1987 IU Hoosiers championship then we will watch them several times a year for eternity. These discs will wear out before our interest does.
Best SB gear, Honorable mention: Deshawn figured out how to get free copies of the complete Bob Lamey radio broadcasts of the AFC championship game and the Super Bowl. Absolutely a must listen! (he made a post about it back in February for those interested)
Friday, April 13, 2007
Today, the Cubs blew a game they had in the bag against Cincy. Up 5-0 with Zambrano on the mound, the Cubs gave up a 6 run inning in rather hilarious fashion, walking in both the tying and go-ahead runs. What made this game so enjoyable is Lou's hilarious meltdown during the post game interviews. Bear in mind, this is a man who recently coached the Devil Rays, and already 2 weeks into the season, he's flipping out over a team that hasn't won jack squat in nearly 100 years. Claaaaaasic. Do yourself a favor and check out:
Make sure you watch past the highlights and wait for his speech. It made my day.
Anyways, this is among the best things you will hear on or about the insanely boring Imus "story".
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Baltimore Colt great Lenny Moore also made the list, which raises the question, should we recognize him here at 18to88.com? The answer, no. The fans and ex-players in Baltimore have made it abundantly clear that they are bitter fools. They don't want to acknowledge that the Colts are here, while they have their own hypocritical Ravens. If they ever decide to start being civil, we'll be happy to list accomplishments of Baltimore Colts greats. Until that day, screw 'em.
Originally, I was planning on picking the Colts to finish 11-5 and win the AFC South. But after seeing how all the games line up I am going to pick the Colts to come in at 12-4 once again. I see their losses coming at Jacksonville, at Carolina, at San Diego, and at Baltimore.
Last year I picked the Colts to go 12-4, but I didn't have a blog then so I didn't recieve any credit. Not that picking the Colts to win 12 games is exactly an earth shattering prediction. Actually it would be gutsier to pick them to win 10 games, but I just don't see that happening, despite all the losses on the Defense. This team's regular season fate always hangs on Peyton and Marvin and the offense and it will for at least a couple more seasons.
Already you can see Bill Polian's latest "The Schedule Makers are Against Us" rant forming in his mind. Take a close look: right in the middle of the season the Colts play 6 out of 9 games on the road, against the likes of Carolina, Jacksonville, San Diego and Baltimore. Ouch. Again, I see those as the four losses of the regular season. The AFC race will be decided in those games, with the Colts settling for the 2 or 3 seed and possibly a bye (an ultra-competive AFC should drive down the records of all teams in the AFC, i.e. I don't see anyone pulling out 14 wins again this year). But the Colts will pull it together and finish strong in December.
FYI everyone should check out our Mock NFL Draft on 18to88.com's main page. It's worth your valuable time.
Here's a blow by blow for the Colts:
Week 1-Thursday night with NO Saints. We've known for sometime now that this was going to be the NFL's kickoff game. Should be a tough contest, but then again, it IS an NFC team.
Week 2-@ Titans A good way to start the road season. The Titans had a ridiculously lucky season last year in terms of kick returns and fumble recoveries. Watch for a major regression in 2008. Winning teams don't have QBs that post ratings in the 60s.
Week 3-@ Houston Ok, so we lost there last year. I'm not sweating. 3-0
Week 4-Home vs. Denver A tough game against a perennial power team, that we just happen to wholesale own.
Week 5-Home vs Tampa Put it on the boooooooooard, YES!
Week 6-Bye A great time to have a bye week. Not too early, so as to be useless, but a great way to prepare for....
Week 7-@Jacksonville J-holes on Monday Night. Should be a great game against a division rival. I guarantee at least one major coaching gaffe by Jack Del Rio and that Josh Scobee will miss a makeable field goal. Put it in the bank now.
Week 8-@ Carolina Surprisingly, this could be one of the only games with questionable weather for the Colts all year, and that is very unlikely. I'd say that late October in North Carolina should be pretty decent.
Week 9-New England Patriots The shocker of the 2007 schedule is that this game is NOT in prime time which shows that the geniuses in the NFL don't know how to serve the fans. Let's be honest, the winner of this game has a very strong shot at winning the Super Bowl. The loser of the regular season Colts/Patriots game has not won a Super Bowl in the last 8 years. The winner has 4 times.
Week 10-@ San Diego on Sunday Night-This should be a tremendous game. Please God, let us find a WLB by then! Gilbert Gardner might get killed by LT otherwise.
Week 11-Chiefs Damon Huard! Other guys in White Jerseys! oooooh
Week 12-@ ATL on Thanksgiving #18 vs. Vick. The Man, the myth.
Week 13-Jholes come to town See week 7
Now December starts...the home stretch
Week 14 @ Ravens tentatively scheduled for Sunday Night. This year, the NFL has prearranged Sunday Night games, but reserves the right to change them. A nice move. This will be our one true Cold Weather Game this season. But, hell, we beat them in January, December shouldn't be any trouble.
Week 15-@ Raiders. The game when everyone starts to realize that drafting Jamarcus Russell might have been a huge mistake.
Week 16-Texans at home. A Christmas feast!
Week 17-Titans at home The Colts second stringers pick over the rotting carcass of what once was the meteoric rise of Vince Young's career.
All in all, the Colts are slated for 5 games on national TV, though that can change. They play on 2 Thursdays, 2 Sunday nights, and once on Monday. It's impossible to know if this is a tough or easy schedule because NFL teams rise and fall. The Chargers may suck this year while Denver becomes a force. You never know. Nothing is sure in this life but death, taxes, and Jack Del Rio suffering a brain cramp at least once a game.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
2. Like all sports, golf is really exciting if you have someone to root for or against.
3. I don't play golf. I have a specific vow against playing it. I refuse to do anything that I know without any doubt will cause me great embarrassment. For example: I was at the driving range one night and I almost killed the Governor of Indiana, Frank O'Bannon. I think that was one of last golf shots I ever took.
4. Tiger makes golf interesting - especially when you aren't a fan. As an analogy I don't think I've ever had a better time watching baseball (yes I watch baseball on tv too) than when the Yankees were dominant. When the Diamondbacks beat them in 2001 in seven games - rooting against the Yankees finally paid off. It was awesome.
5. Putts like this make golf awesome:
Sunday, April 8, 2007
In baseball, announcing, especially on radio, is more important than in any other sport. When you have 162 games a year, all running on top of one another, you start to feel like you know the men who animate the action. As a Reds fan, I have long known how lucky I was to listen to Marty Brennaman day in and out for going on twenty years now.
Marty's partner for the last couple of years was Steve Stewart, who while not extraordinary was fairly solid. At the very least, he didn't annoy me. This year, he was replaced by two broadcasters of national experience. Marty's son-Thom Brennaman and former Reds closer Jeff Brantley. Already one week into the season, I see why the change was made. While both had some first week jitters, they have collectively raised the quality level of Reds broadcast through the roof.
Color announcers are extraneous at best, and in most sports they do little more than point out the obvious. Brantley is a happy exception. Already, his insights and comments have enriched the texture of the games. He holds his own very well during innings where he has to do play by play. Thom has the same quality as Marty of being brutally honest. Great announcers are honest about when the home team sucks. Bob Lamey certainly is. Marty Brennaman is famous for his caustic wit and bititng analysis of the Reds when they play poorly. Honest, but fair, while still rooting for the Reds has been a hallmark that sent him to the HoF. His son seems to have the same capacity. It's that kind of analysis that we hope marks 18to88.com as well.
All in all, the Reds have clearly stated to the their fans that excellence in the booth is important. It's too bad the national networks don't have the same respect for football fans. At least Jaws has a regular gig now...
Friday, April 6, 2007
This is funny on many levels. Deshawn refused to write about it because it embarrassed him so badly. The kind of embarrassment you feel when you watch someone else humiliate themselves, and its so bad the shame spreads to you.
I'm not sure any writer & city combination other than Vic and Jacksonville could spew forth such a unintentionally hilarious Q & A column. The fact that its online popularity has grown so immense that they now offer a video version is not surprising to me. People love train wrecks.
I love that Vic is forced to work in the bowels of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Across the hall from Jack Del Rio's office. That has to be the NFL equivalent of the seventh level of hell.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Now, MLB is encouraging all teams to have a player wear Jackie's 42 for this day. This story actually brings tears to my eyes. Jackie Robinson is the greatest athlete in the history of the North American continent. He was one of the bravest and toughest men alive. Jr's tribute is awesome. I hope MLB auctions off the game worn jerseys to raise money to help young black men and women achieve their dreams.
In breaking down the draft over the last five years, a clear picture of the Colts draft strategy forms. The Horse took more defensive backs than any team in the league. The next time you hear someone say the Colts should have paid big bucks for Nick Harper, remind them of this fact. Indy is loaded with young DBs. A whopping 14 of their 42 picks have been used on safeties and corners. Combine this info with the new article just out by Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.
In which he rightly states that the Colts, like most teams, have been evolving on defense and are looking for more classic corners instead of just cover 2 corners, and you can begin to see why drafting DBs has been such a priority. The game is changing into one in which defenses can't do all the same things they tried even 4 years ago.
Indy has also not drafted a wideout in the last 5 years. The last WR taken by the Colts was Reggie Wayne. The article does a great job pointing out that Indy has now had a stable offensive system for many years now. This naturally leads to less of a need for turnover in the offensive personnel. Because of this, the Colts had the highest ratio of defensive to offensive players drafted in the league. The Colts don't change systems, so they don't have to retool. Whereas new defenses are necessary for success, stable offenses are better. As #18 said once, if the offense executes correctly, it almost doesn't matter if the defense knows what's coming.
Again, the data is amazingly interesting. Ah, and there is one more category the Colts lead the league in over the past five years....
I especially liked the guy who wants the Jags to draft more local guys to raise fan interest. What a fun bunch of know-nothings those Jag fans are!
Also, check out this hilarious comment from Joe Theismann. The question was: who is the best defensive player ever?
Joe Theismann: Taylor I don't want to sound like a homer for saying this, but Taylor has to be considered the greatest ever for three reasons. One, no defensive player has ever had an impact on the game the way he did. Teams simply didn't know how to stop him because he was too big and too fast for opposing blockers. Second, there aren't many other defensive players who inspired their teammates to be better the way LT did. His offensive teammates didn't want to come to the sideline after a three-and-out series because they knew they had let him down. The final reason is probably the biggest. Ever since LT stepped onto the field, every general manager in the NFL has tried to find a linebacker in the same league as him. While there have been some guys who have had amazing seasons or great runs for two or three seasons, none has sustained that level of greatness over the course of his career like LT.
Oh yeah, and reason #4...HE SNAPPED ME LIKE A TWIG. Seriously, Joe, do you even know what a homer is? We at 18to88 are homers. LT didn't play for your team, he BROKE YOUR F***ING LEG! How does that make you a homer? Did you grow up with him or something? Was he in your cub scout troop?
I love that Denzel Washington wrote the forward. That seems kind of random until you remember he starred in Remember the Titans (and, according to IMDB, is set to star in The Great Debaters about a college debate team - wow).
I can't wait to read the chapter about how the time the Colts gave up 375 yards rushing in one game. "At halftime I just looked at our team and with quiet strength said 'Somebody make a @#$^%#% @##$!@#$$#^% tackle."
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Then there's Michael Ruffin of the Washington Wizards making maybe the worst play in sports history. This is Bill Buckner bad. The Wiz are up 3 with 3 seconds to play as the Raptors in-bounds the ball. Enter Michael Ruffin...
Monday, April 2, 2007
On the horizon: Look for new DT Christopher "Scooter" MacFarland to have a great training camp and possibly steal a spot on the roster.
Also coming up: Dexter Reid makes a push to differentiate himself in the public's mind. "I was the one with the weapons charge!"
Scroll down to point three. Long live Rik!
I love Indianapolis and think that it would be a great host for the big game. But if you read closely, you can see why the Circle City has little to no chance to get the game.
"The strongest competition is expected to come from Dallas, which is scheduled to open a new stadium in 2009 that has a capacity to seat up to 100,000 fans."
Folks, that stadium is a privately funded endeavor owned by Jerry Jones one of the most powerful owners in the league. At a time when the league is fighting over revenue sharing, don't you think they will use this to help leverage JJ a bit?
Indy has a great history of hosting big events, but like with the RNC a few years back, having a great rep and a stellar bid isn't always enough. Granted, Indy hosts the combine every year, so all the up and ups should have a good sense for what a sweet downtown it is, but again, I'll believe when I see it.