Archive for July, 2007

Team Turmoil

July 28, 2007

Strahan. Retirement. Holdout. Pick one.

If this team wanted a rudder, Strahan was it. How do you recover from this 11th hour development going into camp? Unless it is resolved amicably it is a disaster.

I am reminded of the Parcells defection in May 1991. The timing was horrible. It was a bitter slap in the face of George Young, most likely a result of more confrontation and disappointment from a late April draft that did not go the way Parcells wanted it to go. The net result is that the Giants organization was left in a big hole, and trying to recruit a new coach at that late hour was out of the question. It set the organization back many years, and Parcells’ vindictiveness was felt for quite some time.

In this situation, Strahan indicated as recently as just 2 weeks ago he was looking forward to playing. You do not show up at minicamps and offseason workouts if u r holding out. He says he is retiring, but is that a ploy to keep the negotiating window open while not incurring fines?

The Giant organization moved Kiwanuka to LB because with Strahan coming back it wanted all of these players on the field together, as much as possible. This team had way more questions than answers BEFORE this, and now it has even more questions, if that were even possible. Strahan was a leader. This is not what leaders do because the timing is so difficult to manage.

I was thinking 6-10 before this development. Now I am convinced of 6-10.

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Cowher speculation

July 24, 2007

Fwiw, Jerome Bettis thinks Cowher will coach the Giants in ’08. He said this on the NFL Network last Tuesday. Of course, you can find the same speculation that Cowher ends up in Washington.

I would have to think that Cowher is too smart to want Synder’s insanity. Cowher thrived with a stable front office, and he knows if he joins the Giants he will get less money but far more continuity. The Giants would still pay him plenty. The other local perk is that his kids play college basketball for Princeton. If I were Reese I would be getting the helipad at the Meadowlands Parking Lot all spruced up.

From Barry Bonds to Lawrence Taylor

July 22, 2007

As football fans, we watched in horror as baseball whored itself to steroids. With Bonds about to take out Aaron’s HR record, feelings are mixed with excitement and resentment. Is Bonds entitled to the recognition as all-time HR king?

A little review first.

Everyone knows that steroids provide more strength. Len Dykstra hit ~5 or 6 HRs per year as a leadoff batter before hitting 19 in a contract year after allegedly taking steroids. (25M later, we never saw that number again.)

Enter 1994, when a player-led strike ravaged fan support and the World Series was lost. TV ratings and stadium attendance plummeted. Yes, there was a degraded state of pitching due to franchise expansion, juiced balls etc.. Home runs were rising and fans liked scoring.

Steroids provided something else too… increased visual acuity. Baseball chose to look the other way as McGuire and Sosa obliterated a record that stood for so many decades. Clearly something changed. Combine the power to spare of guys like Palmiero, McGuire and Sosa with better vision and you start getting eye popping results. As the story goes, Bonds watched in dismay and disgust as McGuire (and Sosa) was put on a pedestal. Why not him? He decided that if baseball was going to look the other way so that McGuire could save the sport from its 1994 horrors then he would partake as well.

First came the 2001 season when Bonds broke McGuire’s record for HRs in a single season. But everyone knew that something was wrong when Bonds hit 45HRs in ~350 AtBats at the age of 40!

1986-2000 494 HRs 7456 AtBats.. 1 HR/15 AtBats
2001-2004 209 HRs 1642 AtBats.. 1 HR/8 AtBats

The human body simply does not get better from 37-40 than it was from 22-36.

So Bonds is turning 43 and he will break the record shortly. Do we applaud? Do we protest? Does MLB strike the record from the books if he used steroids? And what about guys like Palmiero and McGuire, who testified under oath and now have a stench of illegal performance enhancement?

WHAT ABOUT THE COMPLICITY OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL?

Lyle Alzado won a Super Bowl with the Raiders, and he admitted using steroids. Do we take that title away too? Guys like Byron Hunt would piss in Lawrence Taylor’s cup so that LT would not fail his random drug tests for cocaine. LT would have been kicked out of football if he failed ONE more test. Does this mean that BOTH Super Bowls the Giants won should be negated? And what about the list of NFL players who used steroids? It is so lengthy and embarrassing that it would probably wreck 2-3 decades of winners. Two days ago we found out that an NBA referree was fixing games the past few seasons for the mob. Does this give enough evidence to turn back results?

Professional Sports has a lot of credibility to uphold. We can sit back as fans and judge Bonds all we want, but there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around. I am no fan of Bonds. I will not be watching when he breaks the record. But I have decided that it is a little too late to be judging him.

The Rules for Winning in the NFL

July 4, 2007

In the spirit of Independence Day, we declare these truths to be self-evident, that not all players and coaches are created equal… THE RULES FOR WINNING IN THE NFL! Please comment, detract, add your own. These rules can be amended (doubtful, but possible!) by your feedback.

1) Do not draft a “versatile” player in Round 1 of the draft. “Dominant” should be there, not versatile.
2) Left Tackle is a rare commodity. A good Left Tackle is better than a great ______ (fill in almost any other position).
3) WRs are a dime a dozen. Do not waste resources here; pick one up when you are close to the prize. They are always available.
4) “Linebackers, I collect’em.” – Bill Parcells.
5) Pitchouts do not work in the red zone.
6) Repeat after me, Do not go for the 2 pt. conversion until there are 6 minutes left in the game. If there are more than 8 minutes left in the game, it is a 99% certainty that it was the wrong decision.
6a) The Mike Tomlin Rule- The only thing worse than violating Rule 6 is violating Rule 6 AFTER a penalty makes it a 7 yd (or 12! or 17 yard) attempt.
7) The Devin Hester Rule- If there is a special teams player in the end zone on a FG attempt, it is probably a good idea to fake the kick.
8) Do the unpredictable. Once you are predictable you are dead.
9) Trading down in the draft is good.
10) Investing all of your resources in one player is (now, more than ever in the era of free agency) a mistake. Eli Manning, Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams… the teams that do the best are usually giving the pick and getting multiple players.
11) “Read and react” is for losers. Set the tone, dictate terms of engagement, let others copy your SB blueprint. By the time you copy someone else’s, the league has figured out how to adjust, so you are wasting your time.
12) Let the clock wind down to 3 seconds and kick your FG. I have never seen a team muff the (3rd down) attempt and kick on 4th down with the extra time that you left on the clock. I HAVE seen plenty of teams kick the FG and give the other team the oppty/win when they got their hands on the ball again. (ie Dallas Mon Night 2003)
13) The 2 week layover for the SB makes for a lousy game which improves the chances for the favorite.
14) Special teams are always underrated.
15) The only thing the prevent defense prevents you from doing is winning.
16) The only thing the prevent offense prevents you from doing is winning.
16a) The Kenny Holmes Rule- the only thing worse than the prevent offense is the prevent offense when your defense is exhausted/impaired by injury.
17) Players are told to play for 60 minutes. Yet who benches the head coach when he only coaches for 50?
18) The Fassel Rule of Prevent: It is always the coach’s fault when a large lead is blown/the game is lost.
19) The Fassel Rule of December: Practice in December w/o pads- your players will appreciate it and win many more games for you with their fresh legs.
20) The Bill Walsh “Quality Win” (winning by 11+ points) is a necessary objective at all times because it enables you to win MORE games that are more hotly contested.
21) After 1st and Goal from the 1-2 yard line, if you fail to score a TD on your first three tries, kick the FG on 4th down.
22) The Carl Banks Rule- You cannot simply turn it on and turn it off in the NFL. Play every game and maintain/improve on your high level of play.
23) Second round draft picks are the best value in the draft. No sizzle, all steak.
24) # of headcases <= strong head coaches. (If you have a strong head coach you can have up to 1 head case in the locker room. If you have a weak head coach you cannot have any. A strong head coach with 2 head cases means a locker room infestation and problems.)
25) The Phil Simms Rule- You must stretch the field on offense. If you do not/cannot pass the ball >20 yards down field, LBers and Safeties will choke off your offense.
26) Defense wins championships.